NOAA Warns Stronger Hurricane Season Expected

12 August 2016, at 1:00am

US - The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a stronger Atlantic hurricane season than usual.

In its updated 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, NOAA said there is a higher likelihood of an above-normal season and a decreased chance of a below-normal season.

The season is still expected to be the most active since 2012 and there is a 70 per cent chance of 12–17 named storms, of which 5–8 are expected to become hurricanes, including 2–4 major hurricanes.

The initial outlook called for 10–16 named storms, 4–8 hurricanes, and 1–4 major hurricanes. The seasonal averages are 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

“We’ve raised the numbers because some conditions now in place are indicative of a more active hurricane season, such as El Niño ending, weaker vertical wind shear and weaker trade winds over the central tropical Atlantic, and a stronger west African monsoon,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

“However, less conducive ocean temperature patterns in both the Atlantic and eastern subtropical North Pacific, combined with stronger wind shear and sinking motion in the atmosphere over the Caribbean Sea, are expected to prevent the season from becoming extremely active.”

"Given these competing conditions, La Niña, if it develops, will most likely be weak and have little impact on the hurricane season,” added Bell. NOAA announced today that La Niña is slightly favored to develop during the hurricane season.