Scientists have increased from 45 to 60 percent the chances for an above-normal hurricane season this fall. They said hurricane-type activity may be the most active since 2010.
NOAA said there is an increased likelihood for the number of named storms and major hurricanes. In May, NOAA predicted that there would be 11 to 17 named storms, while the forecast released Wednesday increased that range from 14 to 19.
“We’re now entering the peak of the season when the bulk of the storms usually form,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “The wind and air patterns in the area of the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean where many storms develop are very conducive to an above-normal season. This is in part because the chance of an El Nino forming, which tends to prevent storms from strengthening, has dropped significantly from May.”
NOAA’s prediction of from five to nine hurricanes remained unchanged from the May forecast.
Bell noted other factors that point to an above-normal season include warmer waters across the tropical Atlantic than models previously predicted and higher predicted activity from available models.
In just the first nine weeks of this season there have been six named storms, which is half the number of storms during an average six-month season and double the number of storms that would typically form by early August. An average Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1-November 30, produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.