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Forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center have increased the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season to 45%, up from 30% in the outlook issued in May.
The likelihood of near-normal activity is now at 35%, and the chance of below-normal activity has dropped to 20%, NOAA said in a statement on Thursday.
NOAA forecasters monitoring oceanic and atmospheric patterns say conditions are now more favorable for above-normal hurricane activity since El Nino has ended, according to the statement.
“El Nino typically suppresses Atlantic hurricane activity, but now that it’s gone, we could see a busier season ahead,” Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center, said in the statement. “This evolution, combined with the more conducive conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995, increases the likelihood of above-normal activity this year.”
Two named storms — Andrea and Barry — have formed so far this year, and the peak months of the hurricane season — August through October — are now underway, according to NOAA.
The number of predicted storms is also greater, with NOAA now expecting 10 to 17 named storms, consisting of winds of 39 miles per hour or greater, of which five to nine will become hurricanes, consisting of winds of 74 mph or greater and including two to four major hurricanes, consisting of winds of 111 mph or greater.
On average, the Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
NOAA’s hurricane season outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast, according to NOAA.
An above-normal hurricane season is 30% likely, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center said Friday in its outlook for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season which begins June 1.