Published: Mon, May 28, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Forecasters: Active Atlantic hurricane season expected - KVOA | | Tucson, Arizona

Forecasters: Active Atlantic hurricane season expected - KVOA | | Tucson, Arizona

There's a 35% chance that this hurricane season will be above normal, a 40% chance for a near-normal season, and a 25% chance for a below-normal season, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which released its forecast for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season on Thursday.

There will be between 10 to 16 named storms and five to nine hurricanes that will blow through the Atlantic for the 2018 season, forecasters predicted Thursday. Of these storms, five to nine could develop into hurricanes, and one to four could strengthen into major hurricanes with winds over 110 miles per hour. Of those, 10 reached hurricane strength and six developed into major hurricanes; and two of the year's most powerful storms became the first major hurricanes to strike the continental 12 years, according to the NOAA account.

"NOAA's observational and modeling enhancements for the 2018 season put us on the path to deliver the world's best regional and global weather models", said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction. "The devastating hurricane season of 2017 demonstrated the necessity for prompt and accurate hurricane forecasts".

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These are the names NOAA will use to name storms during this hurricane season.

The agency expects five to nine hurricanes, which have winds of 74 miles per hour or higher. That's especially true if a storm hits communities in Puerto Rico or along the Gulf Coast that are still struggling to recover from the devastation caused by Maria and Harvey a year ago. In an average season, there are about 11 storms.

The season might also have a weak El Niño that could contribute to a stronger hurricane season.

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NOAA slightly underestimated just how bad those hurricanes would be.

This coming year, NOAA's analysis of long-term climate trends in the Atlantic Ocean, the temperature of the ocean, and other factors, don't add up to conditions that would stoke an extreme hurricane season.

The following visualization shows the estimates as bars from low to high predictions, mapped against dots representing the actual number of storms.

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Earlier this month, Harris County officials observed Hurricane Preparedness Week and called on residents to review their plans before the season starts. NOAA's National Hurricane Center says there's "a high chance of a tropical or subtropical depression" forming in the Gulf of Mexico over Memorial Day weekend.

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