This year’s Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June through November, is projected to be “near-normal,” according to a forecast released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Forecasters predict a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season and a 30 percent chance each of an above-normal or below-normal one.
NOAA forecasts between 12 and 17 named storms could hit during the upcoming season — storms get names if their winds reach 39 mph or higher.
Of those storms, five to nine could reach hurricane status, with winds 74 mph or higher, and up to four of those could hit “major” hurricane status, with winds 111 mph or higher.
Scientists are predicting El Niño could develop this summer, contributing to the near-normal hurricane activity, after three seasons of La Niña.
The forecast for last year’s Atlantic hurricane season was “above-normal,” with 14 to 21 named storms likely. Ultimately, the U.S. saw 14 named storms during that period, including the hurricanes Ian, Nicole and Fiona, which ravaged parts of the country.
“As we saw with Hurricane Ian, it only takes one hurricane to cause widespread devastation and upend lives. So regardless of the number of storms predicted this season, it is critical that everyone understand their risk and heed the warnings of state and local officials,” said Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell in the NOAA release.
NOAA also announced Thursday that it will implement a handful of improvements to its forecasting, including expanding the capacity of its operational supercomputing system by 20 percent.
It’ll also implement “new small aircraft drone systems, the deployment of additional Saildrones and underwater gliders, and WindBorne global sounding balloons,” new tech geared at improving NOAA’s knowledge of hurricanes and upping forecast accuracy.
Atlantic hurricane season
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Weather Service
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