For the first time the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting up to 25 named storms in the Atlantic basin in what they are predicting could be an “extremely active” season.
The NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, Aug. 6 released its update for the Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, initially issued in May.
The updated outlook calls for 19-25 named storms. A system must have maximum sustained winds of 39 mph or greater to become a named storm.
“This is one of the most active seasonal forecasts that NOAA has produced in its 22-year history of hurricane outlooks. NOAA will continue to provide the best possible science and service to communities across the Nation for the remainder of hurricane season to ensure public readiness and safety,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, in a news release. “We encourage all Americans to do their part by getting prepared, remaining vigilant, and being ready to take action when necessary.”
Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said in an NPR article that they have never forecasted up to 25 storms.
Of the up to 25 named storms, NOAA forecasts up to 11 will become hurricanes, including three-to-six major hurricanes. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season ends Nov. 30. Not that hurricanes keep track of dates.
Several factors contribute to the extremely active forecasted hurricane season, including warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, wind conditions and the possibility of La Nina developing, according to the update.
NOAA’s hurricane season outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast.
"NOAA has the most highly trained and dedicated forecasters that serve to protect American lives and property. With improved forecast skill, new storm surge products, and new observations, such as GPS Radio Occultation, we are better positioned than ever before to keep Americans out of harm's way,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator, in the release.
With an increased risk for storms in the area, it’s so important to be prepared in case one of nature’s most powerful forces strikes near.
The National Weather Service has tips and resources for hurricane preparedness here.