Forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center increased the likelihood of an above-normal 2019 Atlantic hurricane season because conditions are now more favorable since El Nino has ended.
NOAA now expects 10-17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 5-9 will become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), including 2-4 major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale).
“El Nino typically suppresses Atlantic hurricane activity but now that it’s gone, we could see a busier season ahead,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
“This evolution, combined with the more conducive conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995, increases the likelihood of above-normal activity this year.”
NOAA raised the likelihood of an above-normal 2019 Atlantic hurricane season to 45% (up from 30% from the outlook issued in May).
The likelihood of near-normal activity is now at 35%, and the chance of below-normal activity has dropped to 20%.
The updated outlook is for the entire six-month hurricane season which ends November 30.
The Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms on average, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
NOAA’s hurricane season outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast.
Landfalls are largely determined by short-term weather patterns, which are only predictable within about a week of a storm potentially reaching a coastline.