NOAA: Near-normal Atlantic hurricane season most likely this year

WASHINGTON (WHTM) – Hurricane forecasters are predicting a near-normal season in the Atlantic, but that means we could see more storms than in the last three years.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center predicts a 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms. Four to eight could become hurricanes and one to four could become major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher, the agency said Friday.

2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. (NOAA)
2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. (NOAA)

NOAA forecasters said while a near-normal season is most likely with a 45 percent chance, there is also a 30 percent chance of an above-normal season and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season.

The last three years were below normal.

In addition, El Niño – the band of warm ocean water in the Pacific – is dissipating and NOAA is forecasting a 70 percent chance that La Niña — which favors more hurricane activity — will be present during the peak months of hurricane season, August through October.

However, current model predictions show uncertainty as to how strong La Niña and its impacts will be.

NOAA will release an updated outlook for the Atlantic hurricane season in early August, just prior to the peak of the season.

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