Forecasters call for more normal, but still active, Atlantic hurricane season

Frederick Owens
May 25, 2018

Up to four major hurricanes could form in the Atlantic this hurricane season, according to the annual forecast from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. El Nino correlates with warmer ocean temperatures and reduced vertical shear that can cause increased storm activity, while La Nina features cooler waters and historically has produced below-normal activity seasons.

The NOAA prediction promises somewhat of a respite this year, compared with the "furious season" seen in 2017 - the most active season since 2005, and the seventh most active season on record, NOAA reported in its 2017 hurricane season wrap-up. "When you have a more active season, that's when you have more storms forming in the tropical Atlantic".

There is a 75 per cent chance that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be "near-or above-normal", the agency said.

Tropical storms have sustained winds of 39 miles per hour or above, and hurricanes have winds of at least 74 miles per hour.

NOAA is now monitoring the northern Gulf Coast, which could experience its first tropical system of the season in the next five days, the National Hurricane Center said.

The previous hurricane season reportedly cost roughly $282.16 billion in damages, with anywhere from 416 to 1,437 reported casualties as a result of the storms.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria whipped the Caribbean, while Irma cut a path of destruction from St. Martin into Florida.

One to four of those hurricanes could be "major" with threatening winds blowing at at least 111mph.

The six-month Atlantic hurricane season officially starts June 1.

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If you're looking for a clear cut answer on just how bad the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season is going to be, this isn't your year.

A auto drives on a damaged road in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on October 2.

NOAA released the 2018 hurricane outlook on Thursday morning.

Forecasters anticipate near or above-average seasons in both of those areas as well.

The average hurricane season generally produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes and three major hurricanes, according to NOAA.

The following visualization shows the estimates as bars from low to high predictions, mapped against dots representing the actual number of storms.

"We've gone a long ways to improving confidence in these seasonal outlooks", Bell says. If it reaches tropical storm strength, it will be given the name Alberto.

New graphics showing the "earliest reasonable" and "mostly likely" arrival times of tropical storm-force winds, to help residents prepare for storms.

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