WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - After some pre-season action from Subtropical Storm Andrea, and Hurricane Barry in the Gulf of Mexico, experts are revising their forecast to indicate an “above average” remainder of the hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their 2019 Atlantic hurricane mid-season outlook Thursday.
The new outlook calls for 10-17 named storms, up from the pre-season forecast of 9-15. The average is 12.
Of those named storms, 5-9 are expected to become hurricanes with winds reaching at least 74 mph or more on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. That number is up from the 4-8 forecast in the pre-season. An average hurricane season yields about 6 hurricanes.
2-4 are forecast to become major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or more. That number is unchanged from the pre-season outlook. The average is 3.
Forecasters from NOAA attribute a dissipating El-Niño, as the main reason for the change in the forecast, a change from the pre-season forecast indicating the contrary. A weakening El-Niño results in warmer ocean waters, which can make conditions more favorable for tropical storm activity. Other factors, including, changes in climate models, observed data and other long-term forecast models were cited for the higher predictions.
It only takes one storm to leave devastating impacts. In September of 2018, Hurricane Florence caused $24 billion in damage and resulted in 52 deaths in the Carolinas and Virginia.
The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1, and runs through Nov. 30. To prepare for the upcoming season, be sure to visit the First Alert Hurricane Center for information including evacuation routes, and other considerations for your hurricane preparedness.