NOAA predicts ‘above-normal’ 2017 Atlantic hurricane season

On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced their predictions for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. They are predicting that 11 to 17 storms will be named in what they are calling an “above-normal” hurricane season.

N.O.A.A.’s 2017 Atlantic hurricane outlook. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA

Running from June 1 to Nov. 30, the Atlantic hurricane season already had an outlier this year when in April Tropical Storm Arlene unexpectedly formed as a rare preseason storm.

NOAA forecasters “predict a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.”

Lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center Gerry Bell, PhD, said, “The outlook reflects our expectation of a weak or non-existent El Nino, near- or above-average sea-surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea and average or weaker-than-average vertical wind shear in that same region.”

The predictions call for a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes, including two to four major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5). According to NOAA, an average season typically produces 12 named storms, six hurricanes with three becoming major hurricanes.

This above-normal season comes with a 45 percent chance, along with NOAA saying there is a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.

With five named storms, including seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes, the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active since 2012.

“Regardless of how many storms develop this year, it only takes one to disrupt our lives,” acting FEMA Administrator Robert J. Fenton, Jr., said in NOAA’s prediction release. “Get ready now with these easy, low-cost steps that will leave you better prepared and will make all the difference: Have a family discussion about what you will do, where you will go and how you will communicate with each other when a storm threatens; know your evacuation route; tune into your local news or download the FEMA app to get alerts and finally, listen to local authorities as a storm approaches."

Hurricane Hermine in New York in Sept. 2016. Photo: Ryan Brower

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