NOAA Predicts Near-Normal Atlantic Hurricane Season

Posted on May 24, 2012

NOAA is predicting a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year. The season is off to a fast start with Tropical Storm Alberto, which formed off the South Carolina coast. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is currently monitoring another system that could develop and result in two name storms before June 1, the official start of the season.

For the entire season, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center says there's a 70% chance of nine to 15 named storms (with top winds of 39 mph or higher), of which four to eight will strengthen to a hurricane (with top winds of 74 mph or higher) and of those one to three will become major hurricanes (with top winds of 111 mph or higher, ranking Category 3, 4 or 5). Based on the period 1981-2010, an average season produces 12 named storms with six hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., says, "NOAA's outlook predicts a less active season compared to recent years. But regardless of the outlook, it's vital for anyone living or vacationing in hurricane-prone locations to be prepared. We have a stark reminder this year with the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew."

Andrew, the Category 5 hurricane that devastated South Florida on August 24, 1992, was the first storm in a late-starting season that produced only six named storms.

One of the new technologies this year is a computer model that forecasts in high definition, remote aircraft and the Wave Glider robot. Take a look: