NOAA’s prediction for this year’s hurricane season

NOAA has released its outlook for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season.

According to the forecast released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the season is forecast to generate between 10 and 16 named storms, with an estimated 7 to 13 hurricanes — meaning three to six Category 3 or stronger storms. Of those hurricanes, 4 to 8 will hit the U.S. and could cause between $20 billion and $50 billion in damages.

Based on the forecast, on average, 12 named storms form, five of which become hurricanes, and three of which become major hurricanes, which have winds of 111 mph or greater.

The Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. It is not unusual for the season to get started a bit later than usual this year, since the warm season usually begins in mid-August and the cooling season starts in October. In many years, the predictions for the season are slow. For instance, NOAA typically issues a prediction about two months before the hurricane season began, and in 2016, they guessed wrong.

Among the hurricane track predictions issued on Wednesday by NOAA, here are some notable data points. NOAA says an increase in activity during late June, July and August may be a sign of a slightly less active season than previously forecast.

Perhaps the most infamous designation of a category 4 hurricane on the Eastern Pacific hurricane calendar — named “Maria” by former President George W. Bush during the wake of the 2005 season — came from a system last year that formed on May 28.

A Japanese model called the NI5 is also predicted to form during June and is at least expected to develop to a tropical storm in the next five days.

Although the early-season showers may be more exciting than the late-season storming, NOAA’s outlook calls for lower than normal rainfall in many of the tropical basin’s most populous areas, including the Caribbean, Central America and Texas. It also suggests hurricane activity will stay above average — a solid prediction for a year whose outlooks usually are pretty bleak.

Even with fewer named storms and fewer storms that make landfall, the expected hurricane activity is comparable to the busy years of past decades, said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster for NOAA. He said there is nothing to suggest an anomalous increase in activity.

Read the full report by NOAA.

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