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NOAA says above-normal Atlantic hurricane season is most likely this year

Posted at 12:32 PM, May 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-25 19:26:47-04

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released its predictions for this year's hurricane season, and says it could be a busy one.

For the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, 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.

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Forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). An average season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

The numbers given include Tropical Storm Arlene, which formed 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 Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

ABC Action News will bring you the latest in hurricane coverage throughout the season on air and online. All the latest updates can be found at abcactionnews.com/hurricane.

We will also air our annual hurricane special Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.