The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Monday released its annual hurricane season outlook, which calls for a 70 percent chance of 14 to 19 named storms, of which 6 to 9 are expected to become hurricanes, including 2 to 4 major hurricanes with sustained winds of 111 mph or higher.
“The outlook reflects the potential for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “The energy and warmth from a slightly warm ocean surface coupled with a near-normal or slightly above-normal pattern of wind shear … is expected to lead to some formation of storms.”
NOAA will begin to monitor Atlantic conditions on June 1, the official start of the season. In 2014, when La Nina (a climate pattern that causes a cool ocean) was in place, 18 named storms formed. But with normal conditions (including El Niño, or an unusually strong climate pattern for this time of year), only 10 named storms developed that year, and two of those storms became hurricanes.