(WGHP) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center is calling for the seventh consecutive “above-average” hurricane season with up to six major hurricanes.
The Climate Prediction Center released its Hurricane Season forecast on Tuesday. Hurricane Season begins June 1 and stretches until Nov. 30. The season is expected to peak in August.
The center predicts a 65% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season.
That above-normal season will “likely” consist of 14 to 21 named storms with winds of 39 mph or more, according to NOAA. Out of those, six to 10 could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or more. And of those, three to six could become major hurricanes of at least a category 3 with winds of 111 mph or more. The administration says it is 70% confident in its hurricane forecast.
“As we reflect on another potentially busy hurricane season, past storms — such as Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the New York metro area ten years ago — remind us that the impact of one storm can be felt for years,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “Since Sandy, NOAA’s forecasting accuracy has continued to improve, allowing us to better predict the impacts of major hurricanes to lives and livelihoods.”
The Climate Prediction Center plans to update the forecast again in early August.
Why does the NOAA Climate Prediction Center think this season will be above average?
The Climate Prediction Center based its forecast on a few climate factors:
- La Niña, which is expected to hold in place through the hurricane season
- Warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea
- Weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds
- An “enhanced” west African monsoon
“An enhanced west African monsoon supports stronger African Easterly Waves, which seed many of the strongest and longest lived hurricanes during most seasons,” NOAA reports. “The way in which climate change impacts the strength and frequency of tropical cyclones is a continuous area of study for NOAA scientists.”
What will NOAA name this year’s storms?
In addition to releasing the hurricane season forecast, NOAA has also shared its list of names for Atlantic tropical cyclones.