Forecasters predict above-normal hurricane season, NOAA says

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are predicting an above-average hurricane season, meaning communities along the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast should brace for more frequent strong storms.

NOAA said the Atlantic Ocean has a 45% chance of experiencing an above-normal hurricane season, which begins in June and ends Nov. 30. The chance of below-normal activity has dropped to 20%.

Forecasters are also predicting 10 to 17 named storms, which reach wind speeds of over 39 miles per hour. They predict that five to nine will become hurricanes, including two or four major hurricanes, reaching wind speeds of 111 miles per hour or greater.

On average, the Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

Two named storms have formed so far this year.



RELATED: 2019 named storm list

Since the El Niño season has now ended, conditions are more favorable for hurricane activity, according to NOAA.

During El Niño, Pacific Ocean temperatures warm up, which typically suppresses hurricane development in the Atlantic Ocean, according to Gerry Bell, the administration's lead seasonal hurricane forecaster.

"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," he said.

This prediction does not account for landfall, NOAA said, as this can only be predicted within a week or so prior.

Officials still want communities in hurricane-prone areas to prepare.

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