Odds are increasing for an above-normal hurricane season

Pablo Tucker
August 9, 2019

The likelihood of near-normal activity is now at 35 percent and the chance of below-normal activity has dropped to 20 percent for this year's hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center has increased the probability for a more active hurricane season from the 30% that was predicted in May, to a 45% chance of an above normal hurricane season.

On average, the Atlantic typically produces 12 named storms, six of which become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes, according to NOAA.

"Historically, this is when about 95 percent of all hurricanes and named storms form", he said.

'Armed with our next-generation satellites, sophisticated weather models, hurricane hunter aircraft, and the expertise of our forecasters, we are prepared to keep communities informed to help save lives and livelihoods'.

Those conditions include a stronger West African monsoon, weaker wind shear across the tropical Atlantic Ocean, and wind patterns coming off the coast of Africa that can spin up storms, said Gerry Bell, NOAA's lead hurricane season forecaster. There is now a higher likelihood of an "above-normal" season.

By the numbers, that could mean anywhere from 10 to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes.

The government's forecast is slightly higher than that of Colorado State University, which also issues hurricane season forecasts.

To date there have been two named storms this season - Subtropical Storm Andrea, which lasted from May 20-21, and Hurricane Barry of July 11-15, which hit Louisiana. To be classified as a hurricane, a storm must carry winds of at least 74 miles per hour (mph) (119 kilometres per hour (km/h)).

“This evolution, combined with the more conducive conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995, increases the likelihood of above normal activity this year.”.

To highlight the dangers associated with hurricanes, including storm surge and flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Ready Campaign and its federal partners released high-quality videos that show the risky threat from tropical weather.

Hurricane activity is expected to increase in the Atlantic due to favorable oceanic and atmospheric patterns now that El Nino has ended in the Pacific, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday.

"Everyone should know their risk, have a plan and be prepared", Bell said.

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