Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the season
June 1 to November 30, NOAA’s updated seasonal
outlook projects a total (which includes the
activity-to-date of tropical storms Alberto,
Beryl, Debbie, Florence and hurricanes Chris and
Ernesto) of 12 to 17 named storms (top winds of
39 mph or higher), including 5 to 8 hurricanes
(top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which 2 to 3
could be major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5;
winds of at least 111 mph)
The numbers are higher from the initial outlook
in May, which called for 9-15 named storms, 4-8
hurricanes and 1-3 major hurricanes. Based on a
30-year average, a normal Atlantic hurricane
season produces 12 named storms, six hurricanes,
and three major hurricanes.
“We are increasing the likelihood of an
above-normal season because storm-conducive wind
patterns and warmer-than-normal sea surface
temperatures are now in place in the Atlantic,”
said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane
forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center.
“These conditions are linked to the ongoing high
activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began
in 1995. Also, strong early-season activity is
generally indicative of a more active season.”
However, NOAA seasonal climate forecasters also
announced today that El Niño will likely develop
in August or September.
“El Niño is a competing factor, because it
strengthens the vertical wind shear over the
Atlantic, which suppresses storm development.
However, we don’t expect El Niño’s influence
until later in the season,” Bell said.