MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – National forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are predicting a ‘above-normal’ hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean for 2017.
In the official season outlook, forecasters predict a 70-percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms. They believe 5 to 9 of those storms could become a hurricane and 2 to 4 of those storms could be major hurricanes.
The predictions for 2017 are just above the average, which is 12 named storms in a season.
“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,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, in a press release.
It will not happen this year, but a strong El Nino produces wind shear that suppresses the development of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. Also, forecasters point to higher than normal sea surface temperatures which tend to fuel hurricanes as they move through the water.
Along with the season outlook, NOAA also released the names of the 2017 storms:
Luckily, it has been more than a decade since the Gulf Coast has seen a direct hit from a hurricane. However, the 2016 season was active around the country. There were 15 named storms, including 7 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes, that formed during the 2016 season.
NOAA’s Dr. Bell talked about the season outlook Thursday and the video was uploaded to Youtube: