NOAA predicts above normal hurricane season

May 19, 2011 10:13:49 AM PDT
Scientists at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center said Thursday that they expect a busy hurricane season this year.

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA is projecting:

  • 12 to 18 Named Storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including:
  • 6 to 10 Hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which:
  • 3 to 6 could be Major Hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)

That's a slight decrease over last year's projection, but still considered to be above normal.

NOAA said its projections have a 70 percent likelihood. An average year in the Atlantic brings 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

NOAA said the forecast means people who live along the coast - including those in North Carolina - need to be prepared for the worst.

"The United States was fortunate last year. Winds steered most of the season’s tropical storms and all hurricanes away from our coastlines," said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "However we can’t count on luck to get us through this season. We need to be prepared, especially with this above-normal outlook."

For more on how to prepare for a storm, click here to visit the Hurricane Center.

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