Seasonal forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center have increased the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season to 45% (up 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 number of predicted storms is also greater, with NOAA now expecting 10-17 named storms (winds of 39mph or greater), of which between five and nine will become hurricanes (winds of 74mph or greater), including between two and four major hurricanes (winds of 111mph or greater). This updated outlook is for the entire six-month hurricane season, which ends November 30, 2019. NOAA has also announced that the current El Nino in the Pacific Ocean has ended and neutral conditions have returned.
“El Nino typically suppresses Atlantic hurricane activity, but now that it’s gone, we could see a busier season ahead,” said Gerry Bell, 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.”
On average, the Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms, 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.
Pete Gaynor, acting administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said, “We urge everyone to learn more about hurricane hazards and prepare now, ahead of time, so that if state and local authorities announce evacuations in advance of a storm, you and your family will have planned where to go and what to do to stay safe.”
This week, the FEMA Ready Campaign and its federal partners released videos that show the deadly threat from tropical weather, specifically hurricane storm surge and flooding, to help emphasize the importance of following the instructions of state and local authorities in advance of a storm. The 15-, 30- and 60-second video clips are available for broadcast or social media distribution and complement additional storm surge resources from NOAA.