NOAA just released a new report, calling for a higher likelihood of a near-normal or above-normal hurricane season. The season is still expected to be the most active since 2012.
Forecasters at NOAA now expect a 70 percent chance of 12 to 17 named storms, of which 5 to 8 are expected to become hurricanes, including 2 to 4 major hurricanes. The initial outlook called for 10-16 named storms, 4 to 8 hurricanes, and 1-4 major hurricanes. The seasonal averages are 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.
"We've raised the numbers because some conditions now in place are indicative of a more active hurricane season, such as El Niño ending, weaker vertical wind shear and weaker trade winds over the central tropical Atlantic, and a stronger west African monsoon," said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.
He also says that wind shear and a sinking motion in the atmosphere over the Caribbean Sea, should prevent the season from becoming extremely active."
NOAA also announced that a La Niña pattern is slightly favored to develop during the hurricane season. La Nina patterns are known to increase the amount of tropical activity we see.
To date, there have been five named storms, including two hurricanes (Alex and Earl). Four made landfall: Bonnie (in South Carolina), Colin (in western Florida), Danielle (in eastern Mexico), and Earl (in Belize and Mexico).
As we move into the peak of hurricane season, when hurricanes are most frequent and often at their strongest, NOAA urges coastal residents to make sure they have their hurricane preparedness plans in place and to monitor the latest forecasts.
For more, check out the ABC11 Hurricane Center
Click here for ABC11 First Alert Doppler Hurricane Tracker
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