MIAMI The Atlantic Ocean could see another above normal hurricane season this year, Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said Thursday.
Forecasters predict a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.
There’s a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms, of which five to nine could become hurricanes, including two to four major hurricanes, forecasters said. An average season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
Those numbers include Tropical Storm Arlene, a rare pre-season storm that formed over the eastern Atlantic in April.
“The outlook reflects our expectation of a weak or non-existent El Nino, near- or above-average sea-surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and average or weaker-than-average vertical wind shear in that same region,” said Dr. Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
Hurricane season runs June 1 through Nov. 30.