Federal scientists predict ‘above normal’ hurricane season

Federal scientists predict ‘above normal’ hurricane season
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Federal scientists have upgraded the chance for an active hurricane season this year.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasters said Wednesday there is a 60 percent change for an “above normal” hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean, with 14 to 19 named storms and two to five major hurricanes.

In May, NOAA predicated 11-17 named storms and two to four major hurricanes.

There have already been six named storms in the first nine weeks of the Atlantic hurricane season, about double what is normal by this time of year. Two of those made landfall in the United States as tropical storms: Cindy on June 22 in Louisiana and Texas, and Emily on July 31 in Florida.

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NOAA said weather conditions in the Atlantic and Caribbean are “very conducive to an above-normal season,” in part because it appears less likely that an El Niño will form in the Pacific ocean. El Niño events typically hobble hurricane development in the Atlantic.

Scientists conclude that this year “has the potential to be extremely active, and could be the most active since 2010.”

The U.S. is in the midst of a record-long major hurricane drought. A Category 3 or stronger hurricane hasn’t hit the United States since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.