NOAA now expects more Atlantic hurricanes than it did in May
The chance of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season has increased to 35 percent, Gerry Bell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Aug. 9.
That's up from NOAA's May prediction of 25 percent, said Bell, the lead hurricane season forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, in a press call. The chance of a near-normal season remains at 50 percent.
NOAA now forecasts two to three major hurricanes for the season out of five to eight total hurricanes and 12 to 17 named storms. This year's season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, has already had six named storms.
The conditions favoring more storm activity are storm-conducive wind patterns and warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures now in place in the tropical Atlantic. NOAA expects those conditions to persist throughout the season, Bell said.
Bell also said that strong early-season activity tends to indicate a more active season. This year saw two named storms before June 1. That has only happened two other times in recorded history--in 1887 and 1908, said Laura Furgione, acting director of NOAA's National Weather Service.
Meanwhile, El Nino may suppress storm development, because it strengthens the vertical wind shear over the Atlantic, Bell said.
NOAA predicts that El Nino will likely develop in August or September. But Bell added that there's usually a time delay of several weeks between when it forms in the Pacific and when its impact is felt in the Atlantic.
Furgione urged the public to be ready. "The preparedness that folks take is often directly correlated with their experiences and the things that they remember," she said.
With 7 years having now passed since Hurricane Katrina, Furgione expressed concern that apathy had set in.
Click below to listen to the call:
- go to NOAA's Aug. 9 press release