NOAA ups forecast for 2017 hurricanes
Posted August 9
Washington — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday that chances are higher for an above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic, and it could become the most active since 2010.
NOAA forecasters said there is a 60 percent chance of an above-normal season, up from the 45 percent chance predicted in May. They now expect 14 to 19 named storms, up from the 11 to 17 predicted earlier, and two to five major hurricanes, up from two to four. A prediction for five to nine hurricanes overall remains unchanged from the initial May outlook.
"We’re now entering the peak of the season when the bulk of the storms usually form," Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said in a statement. "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."
Other factors that point to an above-normal season include warmer waters across the tropical Atlantic than models previously predicted and higher predicted activity from available models, Bell said.
Six named storms have formed in the first nine weeks of the season, 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, officials said. An average Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.