Hurricane season is here, and we could be seeing more hurricanes this year than we have in the past few years.
We’re officially in the five-month period where hurricanes are most likely to happen in the Atlantic Ocean, and we’ve already seen two named storms. The first storm of the year, named Alex, happened in January way outside the normal hurricane season. The second, named Bonnie, is winding down after reaching tropical storm status over the weekend.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expects a “near-normal” hurricane season with about 10-16 named storms (this includes everything from tropical storms to hurricanes traveling faster than 150 miles per hour). That “near-normal” prediction would mean there could me more hurricanes in the Atlantic this year than there have been the past few, which were considered “below normal.”
Here are the rest of the names you can expect to see in the coming months (up next is Colin):
In its forecast, the NOAA expressed a lot of uncertainty in their predictions.
“This is a more challenging hurricane season outlook than most because it’s difficult to determine whether there will be reinforcing or competing climate influences on tropical storm development,” Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the NOAA said in a statement.
It will depend a lot on how the La Niña weather pattern plays out, if it materializes at all. Right now, the NOAA is on a La Niña watch.
Elsewhere, the central basin of the Pacific Ocean is looking at a 40% chance of having either a near-normal or above normal season and is looking at about 4-7 tropical cyclones, while the eastern basin has a 40% chance of near-normal and 30% chance of below normal with about 13-20 storms.