Thursday, National Weather Service released its outlook for this hurricane season, which starts June 1. And it looks to be a busy storm season.
Dr. Gerry Bell is the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster for NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), who produced the report for the Weather Service.
We expect quite a bit of activity. We’re expecting 12 to 18 storms, of which we think six to 10 will become hurricanes, and three to six of those to become major hurricanes. There are several factors that we are basing this outlook on. The first is that the conditions that have been producing increased activity since about 1995 are still in place.
Those conditions include wind and air pressure patterns that have stirred recent storms.
Another reason is that Atlantic Ocean temperatures are higher than average.
Bell says the U.S was lucky last year:
Fortunately, all the hurricanes missed us. Unfortunately, the areas to our south, like the entire region around the Caribbean Sea, Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, they were hit repeatedly by tropical storms and hurricanes. So one of the reasons we did not get any last year was that they stayed further to the south. Another reason was that we had stronger than average winds out of the west, over the western Atlantic, and that steered the storms that were further north and kept them out to sea.
Bell says it is likely the Atlantic will see up to 10 hurricanes–six of those being major:
And we think there’s a 70 percent likelihood for that. It’s possible if the waters in the Atlantic warm up more and conditions become more conducive, it’s possible to see more than that, for example. But this is the likely range of activity that we should expect.
Dr. Gerry Bell is the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster for NOAA.