NC State scientists predict above average hurricane season this year

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WCNC) — North Carolina State University researchers shared their predictions for the upcoming hurricane season.

They say that the hurricane season in the Atlantic in 2020 will see 18 to 22 named storms. The long-term average is 11, while the short-term average is 14.

Lian Xie, a professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at NC State, says the short-term average is from 1995 to 2019.

Researchers are looking at the entire Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea when discussing the named storms. They say eight to 11 of them could be strong enough to become hurricanes.

for Atlantic hurricanes, the historical average in one season is six, with the possibility of 3 to 5 of them turning into major hurricanes. 

Historical averages for Gulf of Mexico are one hurricane and three named storms, but Xie predicts the season could be much more active with six to 10 named storms and the potential of up to five hurricanes.

Xie has evaluated over 100 years of data describing the history of the Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity to make the predictions. Other variables evaluated include weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures.

Xia Sun, graduate research assistant in marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at NC State, contributed to the research as well.

Hurricane season in the Atlantic begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

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