NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, just released their outlook for the upcoming hurricane season.
The federal agency, which oversees the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service, expects 10 to 16 tropical storms to develop in the Atlantic basin this year. Of these storms, five to nine could develop into hurricanes, and one to four could strengthen into major hurricanes with winds over 110 mph.
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These numbers are slightly above the long-term seasonal averages.
Of course, what really matters is not how many storms develop but where they make landfall. And there's no way to forecast that months in advance. That's why we need to prepare ahead of time, no matter how many hurricanes are expected.
Last year was a very active season with 17 tropical storms, 10 hurricanes and 6 major hurricanes. It was a catastrophic year with over $280 billion in damage, mostly caused by Harvey, Irma and Maria.
The first name on the list, Alberto, could be forming in the central Gulf of Mexico later this week. At this time, it's expected to track toward the eastern half of the Gulf, missing southeast Texas.
Here's what we can expect for the 2018 hurricane season
A look back at the 2017 hurricane season
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2018 Hurricane Outlook: NOAA predicts 5 to 9 hurricanes this year