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Atlantic Hurricane Season Starts: Outlook For 2019 Revealed By US Forecasters

A graphic showing 2019 Atlantic tropical cyclone names selected by the World Meteorological Organization. Photo Credit: NOAA
A graphic showing hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms. Photo Credit: NOAA
Dr. Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, and the rest of his team NOAA, are predicting a 40 percent chance that the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season will be near-normal.
Dr. Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, and the rest of his team NOAA, are predicting a 40 percent chance that the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season will be near-normal. Video Credit: usweathergov

Between nine and 15 named storms, including includes tropical storms, are predicted to form in the Atlantic this year,  the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced on Friday, May 24.

Hurricane season runs from Saturday, June 1 through Nov. 30.

The outlook forecasts a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, a 30 percent chance of an above-normal season and a 30 percent chance of a below-normal season.

Of the nine to 15 named storms (with winds of 39 mph or higher), four to eight could become hurricanes (with winds of 74 mph or higher), including two to four major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher), NOAA said.

This outlook reflects competing climate factors. The ongoing El Niño is expected to persist and suppress the intensity of the hurricane season. Countering El Niño is the expected combination of warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and an enhanced west African monsoon, both of which favor increased hurricane activity.

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center and NWS office in San Juan will expand the coastal storm surge watches and warnings in 2019 to include Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition, NHC will display excessive rainfall outlooks on its website, providing greater visibility of one of the most dangerous inland threats from hurricanes.

Also, this season, NOAA’s Hurricane Hunter aircraft will collect higher-resolution data from upgraded onboard radar systems.

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