RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – NOAA released its updated hurricane season forecast Thursday saying there is now a better chance for an above-normal season.
Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said conditions are shifting towards a more active season now that El Niño has ended – bringing “neutral conditions.”
“El Niño typically suppresses Atlantic hurricane activity but now that it’s gone, we could see a busier season ahead,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
The Atlantic basin is now entered its peak season – August through October.
“Armed with our next-generation satellites, sophisticated weather models, hurricane hunter aircraft, and the expertise of our forecasters, we are prepared to keep communities informed to help save lives and livelihoods,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator.
In May, NOAA also predicted a near-normal season.
But two named storms later – the Atlantic basin could be more active than first thought.
NOAA is now predicting 10-17 named storms.
Five to nine of those will become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or greater.
Two to four of those will be major storms with winds topping 111 mph, NOAA said.
NOAA’s predictions are for storm activity and not hurricanes that make landfall.
“On average, the Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes,” NOAA said.
Hurricane season ends Nov. 30.
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