NOAA: A "near normal" number of tropical systems expected this season

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By: Charles Roop | WCTV Pinpoint Weather
May 23, 2019

Hurricane Michael in the Caribbean Sea, Photo Date: 10/8/2018 / Photo: NASA / EOSDIS / (MGN)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- We could have a "near normal" count of tropical systems in the Atlantic basin this hurricane season, according to predictions released from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday.

NOAA has called for a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named tropical systems for the 2019 season with four to eight of those becoming hurricanes. Two to four of those hurricanes could be category 3 strength or higher.

Forecasters believe that a weak El Niño is one element that would limit storm development since it would increase wind shear. The increased wind shear would limit thunderstorm development and, therefore, the development of organized tropical cyclones.

But, forecasters also believe increased sea surface temperatures, along with an enhanced West African Jet, would increase the threat of tropical cyclone development.