Hurricane season 2018 could be worse than projected

Written by Staff Writer at CNN

Hurricane season in the Atlantic will likely be slightly less active than in recent years.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced that it has adjusted its forecast for the upcoming hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.

According to the agency, the likely number of hurricanes of Category 3 or higher — as seen in past years — will be around 14, down from 15 to 18.

Hurricane season could be warmer and wetter than predicted. Credit: NOAA/Fred Salame/Air Force Reserve

It will see between 4 and 8 hurricanes making landfall along the US coastline. That is up from an average of 3.5, although that figure is likely to fall between 2017’s 5 and 2017’s 6.5.

The agency’s key hurricane focus is on coastal communities. It notes that southeastern Florida is more likely to face damaging wind speeds of 74 miles per hour or more. Even with the improvements, the hurricane season is still expected to have a dramatic impact on the state’s damaged tourism industry.

While the agency is assuming that thunderstorms in the Caribbean basin are less intense, the number of hurricanes and impacts are likely to be higher.

The 2017 hurricane season will be remembered for the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria, the deadliest and most destructive in Puerto Rico’s history. This year, the forecast lists El Niño as a possible factor, with the possibility of heightened sea surface temperatures. The agency is now forecasting a 50% chance of El Niño conditions, up from 40% at the beginning of the season.

A top Nasa satellite image taken on March 10, 2018, shows the Hurricane Florence in the Atlantic Ocean. Credit: AIRPIX/DAVID YOUNG/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Last year, more than 80% of hurricane-associated deaths occurred in Florida, Texas, or the US Virgin Islands.

NOAA is forecasting dry and warmer conditions in the tropical Atlantic and Gulf regions. It is highlighting the significance of El Niño as the likely culprit for what it is predicting will be a slightly below-average number of tropical storms and hurricanes.

The latest forecast comes just days after the National Weather Service also revised its prediction for the upcoming hurricane season. According to the weather service, this year is expected to be slightly less active than in the last few years, particularly for hurricanes.

The forecasters maintained the September prediction, which is that there is a 48% chance that there will be 11 to 17 named storms, of which 5 to 9 will be hurricanes. Of those hurricanes, 2 to 4 will be major.

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