NCSU researchers predict busier than normal Atlantic hurricane season

Posted April 15, 2016 10:07 a.m. EDT

Days of heavy rain and the passing offshore of Hurricane Joaquin pushed waves and sand onto roads in Buxton. (Photos by Donny Bowers)

— North Carolina State University researchers say the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season could be significantly more active than the overall average since 1950.

In a news release published Friday, professor Lian Xie said the season could generate 15 to 18 tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.

Between 1950 and 2014, the average number of tropical storms and hurricanes during the Atlantic season has been 11. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.

Of the potential named storms in 2016, between eight and 11 could grow strong enough to become hurricanes, Xie said. Three to five could become major hurricanes.

In the Gulf of Mexico specifically, Xie says the season could produce two to five named storms, with one to three of them becoming a hurricane. The numbers are similar in the Caribbean.

Xie’s methodology evaluates more than 100 years of historical data on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as other variables including weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures, to predict how many storms will form in each ocean basin, N.C. State said in its release.