NOAA: More active hurricane season possible; Updates forecast
BATON ROUGE – NOAA updated its outlook for the 2017 hurricane season Wednesday, predicting a higher likelihood of an above-normal season. Last week, the tropical meteorology project at Colorado State University also increased numbers, maintaining a forecast for above average activity.
Meteorologists at NOAA increased the presumed number of named storms up from 11 or 17 to between 14 and 19. There could be two to five major hurricanes, experts suggested, increasing the May prediction by one. “The season has the potential to be extremely active, and could be the most active since 2010,” the agency said in a post on its website.
“We’re now entering the peak of the season when the bulk of the storms usually form,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “The wind and air patterns in the area of the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean where many storms develop are very conducive to an above-normal season. This is in part because the chance of an El Nino forming, which tends to prevent storms from strengthening, has dropped significantly from May.”
In just the first nine weeks of this season there have been six named storms, which is half the number of storms during an average six-month season and double the number of storms that would typically form by early August. On Wednesday, Franklin became the first hurricane of the 2017 season in the Atlantic Basin.
An average Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1-November 30, produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. Historically, the peak of hurricane season activity comes in September.
While experts can assess the atmosphere to predict total tropical activity, there is no capability to predict where storms will occur until after they have formed. For that reason, coastal residents are reminded to check forecasts and stay hurricane ready.
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