Published: 2018-04-16 16:19:00
Updated: 2018-04-16 16:30:39
By Matthew Burns, WRAL.com senior producer/politics editor
Raleigh, N.C. — The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be significantly more active than average, researchers at North Carolina State University said Monday.
The season should see 14 to 18 tropical storms and hurricanes forming in the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, said Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences.
Since 1950, the average for named storms in a year has been 11.
Of those named storms, seven to 11 may grow strong enough to become hurricanes, with the possibility of three to five storms becoming major hurricanes, Xie said.
Last year, there were 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes and six major hurricanes, including Harvey, Irma and Maria, three of the most devastating storms on record.
Xie evaluates more than 100 years of historical data on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as variables such as weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures, to predict how many storms will form in each ocean basin.
N.C. State collaborators on the research include Joseph Guinness, assistant professor of statistics, and Xia Sun, graduate research assistant in marine, earth and atmospheric sciences.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.