Hurricane Outlook: NOAA predicts 5 to 9 hurricanes this year

The 2018 Hurricane Season Is Approaching. Here's What You Should Know

The 2018 Hurricane Season Is Approaching. Here's What You Should Know

But, NOAA is seeing the signal for a season that is either "normal" or "above normal".

Forecasters predict the hurricane season will be normal or above-normal.

The NOAA forecast also said about half of the 10 to 16 named storms will be hurricane strength with winds of at least 74 miles per hour (119 kph).

"We are not expecting this season to be one of the most active on record", Gerry Bell, lead hurricane season forecaster with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said at a press conference in Lakeland, Florida. An average hurricane season in recent years is defined as 12 named storms, six of which are hurricanes and three of which are major hurricanes.

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.

The science concerning the effects of climate change on hurricanes is still emerging, but rising sea levels are already making storm surge worse, and warming ocean waters feed energy to storms. The possibility of a weak El Niño developing, along with near-average sea surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, are two major factors driving this outlook, according to NOAA.


Bell added, "We know certain areas have been compromised from last year's storms, and that makes hurricane preparedness even more important this year".

At the same time, Bell said the climate modeling technology has gotten increasingly more accurate.

Neil Jacobs, the assistant secretary of commerce for environmental prediction and observation, says that NOAA predicts between 10 and 16 named storms, with sustained winds of 39 miles per hour or higher. 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. 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.

NOAA predicted that 2017 would be an above-average season, and it certainly was: A trio of devastating hurricanes - Harvey, Irma and Maria - ravaged Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and many Caribbean islands. One to four of the hurricanes are forecast to become major, meaning Category 3 or higher.

Last year, three exceptionally powerful hurricanes made landfall: Harvey struck Texas; Irma devastated the Caribbean and southeastern US - creating a massive "tree graveyard" in the Everglades; and Maria walloped the Caribbean and Puerto Rico.

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