NOAA Expects Hurricane Season For 2018 To Be Near Or Above Normal

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released on Thursday their forecast for this year's hurricane season.

The outlook says there's a 70 percent chance of 10 to 16 named storms, which forecasters say have wind speeds of 39 miles per hour or higher.

Last year, the forecast was for 11 to 17 named storms and five to nine hurricanes, of which two to four were expected to become major hurricanes.

Forecasters also said there is a 40 percent chance of an average season, a 35 percent chance of an above-average season and a 25 percent of a below-average season.

The NOAA prediction promises somewhat of a respite this year, compared with the "furious season" seen in 2017 - the most active season since 2005, and the seventh most active season on record, NOAA reported in its 2017 hurricane season wrap-up. The latest outlook from government scientists predict this year's storm activity will likely range from near normal to above normal. One to four could be major hurricanes.

But forecasters warned that prediction could change if an El Niño forms or cooler Atlantic waters begin to warm as they did previous year. "We're expecting that temperature to be near average and that's one of the reasons we're expecting a near normal season".

A vehicle drives on a damaged road in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on October 2.

"An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes", according to a NOAA press release. They said there's the possibility of a weak El Nino, the periodic warming of the Pacific Ocean off South America, which suppresses the formation of hurricanes by generating high-altitude winds that prevent them from forming.

NOAA will provide another hurricane season outlook in early August, before the height of the Atlantic hurricane season. If El Nino does not develop and water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea warm up, that could fuel more storm development, said Bell, who was speaking at NOAA's agency's aircraft operations center in Lakeland, Florida.

If you're looking for a clear cut answer on just how bad the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season is going to be, this isn't your year.

Named Central Pacific tropical cyclones for 2018 will begin with "Walaka", according to the center. "Those storms tend to track farther westward, and that's why the Caribbean and the continental United States are more at risk". "You don't even need a tropical storm".

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