The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revised its
predictions Thursday, saying more named storms are likely in this year's
Atlantic hurricane season.
The agency now predicts
between 12 and 17 named storms from the period that started on June 1
and will end on November 30. NOAA's original May prediction was between
nine and 15 named storms.
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The chance of an
above-normal hurricane season rose to 35%, said Gerry Bell, the lead
hurricane season forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. There
is a 50% chance of a "near-normal" season.
NOAA predicts that five
to eight of the named storms will become hurricanes, and that two to
three of those could be major hurricanes. A hurricane that reaches
Category 3 or greater (with winds of at least 111 mph) is considered
A "normal" hurricane season produces 12 named storms, including six hurricanes, of which three are major hurricanes.
"We are increasing the
likelihood of an above-normal season because storm-conducive wind
patterns and warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures are now in
place in the Atlantic," Bell said. "These conditions are linked to the
ongoing high activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995.
Also, strong early-season activity is generally indicative of a more
This season has already
produced six names storms: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debbie, Ernesto and
Florence. Chris and Ernesto became hurricanes.