NOAA predicts “near-normal” Atlantic Hurricane Season for 2019

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center is predicting a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season for 2019.

This means NOAA predicts a likely range of 9 to 15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which four to eight could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher). They are predicting two to four of those hurricanes could upgrade to category 3 or higher (winds of 111 mph or higher).

An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

One of the driving factors in the 2019 hurricane season is the El Niño weather pattern in place. This weather pattern is expected to “persist and suppress the intensity of the hurricane season.” according to a NOAA news release.

In spite of the El Niño weather pattern, “a combination of warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and an enhanced west African monsoon” could favor tropical cyclone development.

NOAA wants individuals to keep in mind that the outlook is for “overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast.” 

Atlantic Hurricane Season traditionally starts on June 1. However, Tropical Storm Andrea formed on May 20 and weakened less than 24 hours after being named. The season ends on November 30.

The Climate Prediction Center will update the 2019 Atlantic seasonal outlook in August before the historical peak of hurricane season.

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