The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center said on August 8 the Atlantic season looks more active than normal as peak hurricane season begins.
On average, the Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six turn into hurricanes, including three major hurricanes (Category 3 or above), according to NOAA. "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".
The number of predicted storms is also greater with NOAA now expecting 10-17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 5-9 will become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), including 2-4 major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater).
Although the probability of an "above-normal" season has increased, there is still a 35 percent change of a "near-normal" season, forecasters say.
Hurricanes have 74 miles per hour or higher winds, and major hurricanes have 111 miles per hour winds or higher, NOAA says.
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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.. Out of those named storms, between 5 to 9 are expected to become hurricanes, which requires wind speeds of at least 74 miles per hour.
"That's not really a factor as far as a season outlook", he said. The agency doesn't predict how many storms will make landfall because those conditions can only be measured about five to seven days in advance.
Conditions have become more favourable for hurricane growth as the El Niño phenomenon had ended, forecasters said in their midseason update.
"Everyone should know their risk, have a plan and be prepared", Bell said.
A spike in storms is set to follow the recent end of El Niño, the abnormal weather patterns which typically acts to suppress hurricane activity by increasing wind shear.