Monday, 19 August, 2019

NOAA says 2019 Atlantic hurricane season expected to be above-normal

Increase in Atlantic hurricane activity expected after end of El Nino: NOAA The US could be hit by eight hurricanes before December
Sandra Phillips | 09 August, 2019, 18:45

"Though the hurricane season is starting off slow, as in 2004, the folks in Gulf Shores will remember what happened in mid-September that year".

The 5 August forecast anticipates seven hurricanes overall for the season, up from five hurricanes predicted in the initial 4 April forecast.

The main reason for the increased risk was an earlier-than-expected end to El Niño, Gerry Bell, NOAA's lead hurricane season forecaster, told reporters on Thursday.

NOAA has increased the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season to 45%, which is up from the 30% forecast in the outlook issued in May.

NOAA is also predicting 10-17 named storms, up from 9-15 in the orginal forecast.

On average, the Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms, six of which become hurricanes, including three categorized as major.

Today NOAA raised the likelihood of an above-average Atlantic hurricane season in a forecast update. Two to four of those are forecast to be major hurricanes.

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Up to nine hurricanes could strike the US this season, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is now warning. Wind shear, which helps rip apart developing systems, is at its weakest. When researchers made their May predictions, they thought the pattern would continue through the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from mid-August to late October.

These new predictions come with the end of El Nino in the Pacific Ocean, which "typically suppresses" hurricane activity in the Atlantic, according to NOAA.

Pete Gaynor, the acting Fema administrator, said: “Todays updated outlook is a reminder to be prepared.

She said: “The sea temperature around us is running at least a couple of degrees above normal for this time of year.

Both NOAA and Colorado State University forecasters added the caveat that it is impossible to know how the season will unfold, despite improved sophistication in weather modelling. Landfalls are largely determined by short-term weather patterns, which are only predictable within about a week of a storm potentially reaching a coastline, according to the NOAA.

Residents of coastal areas should remain prepared, regardless of how much activity is predicted.

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