MIAMI, Fla. — The message from the Climate Prediction Center for Florida is simple: get ready for another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.
According to the latest forecast, the number of expected named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater) is 15-21, including 7-10 hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), of which 3-5 could become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5 with winds 111 mph or greater). This updated outlook includes the 5 named storms that have formed so far, with Hurricane Elsa becoming the earliest 5th named storm on record.
In the initial forecast, NOAA said there was a 60 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 30 percent chance of a near-normal season, and just a 10 percent chance of a below-average season. For this year, forecasters said there’s a likely range of 13-20 named storms, of which 6-10 could become hurricanes and 3-5 major hurricanes. NOAA said the forecast was provided with 70 percent confidence.
“Although NOAA scientists don’t expect this season to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community,” said Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator.
Overall, the Climate Prediction Center said currently we are in an El Niño-neutral phase, but La Niña may return later in the hurricane season which could generate higher activity in the Atlantic. Further, the CPC said warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean combining with weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds and an enhanced west African monsoon season will be factors in the year’s activity.
Now is the time to get your hurricane kits prepared for the season. Click here for more tips on what you need in the kit and other hurricane tips.