NOAA: Above-normal hurricane season likely

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By: Charles Roop | WCTV Eyewitness News
August 9, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - An active season is in store as the number of named storms will likely to be higher than originally thought, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on Wednesday.

The number of named storms expected in the Atlantic basis this season is between 14 to 19 - up from the original 11 to 17 forecast released just before the season started. Five to nine hurricanes are still expected, but the number of major hurricanes called for is now two to five (it was two to four). These numbers include the six named storms that have occurred already this season - including Tropical Storm Franklin.

There are five reasons that Dr. Gerry Bell of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center listed during the conference call for the increased activity expected this year. Lower wind shear and weaker trade winds, which allow for better tropical cyclone development. Sea surface temperatures are 2 to 3 degrees F above normal across much of the basin, giving more fuel for tropical cyclone development. El Niño development for the rest of the year is much lower than thought earlier in the year, which means less wind shear to suppress storm development. Forecast models, along with the active season we have had so far, are other factors that will allow for a more active remainder of the season.

The current setup is similar to previous active seasons, including last year, Bell said. But what's different this time is the conditions for an active season are already in place. Bell said that they originally thought it would take some time for overall conditions to ripen for a more active season.

"There is high confidence that these conducive conditions will persist," Bell said. "That's why there is a higher confidence for an above normal season."

With 95 percent of the Atlantic hurricane season activity taking place from August though the rest of the season, the basin is only seeing the beginning.

We are entering the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew's landfall, which was the last category 5 storm to make landfall in the U.S. It's also the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Bell said that these storms are a reminder to be ready for the season.

"Know your risk, have a plan, and be prepared," he said.