NOAA: Another above-average hurricane season expected

Hurricane Michael's track was always accurate, but tracking the intensity of the hurricane was an issue. (NASA)
By  | 

By: Charles Roop | WCTV Pinpoint Weather
May 21, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- It will be another above-average hurricane season based on predictions released by the NOAA Thursday morning.

The government agency announced on a conference call that they are expecting a 70% chance of between 13 and 19 named storms, with six to 10 hurricanes. Three to six of those hurricanes could be Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, with maximum sustained winds of 111 mph or higher.

NOAA's forecasters are attributing the active season to a continuation of the environmental conditions that have allowed for active seasons since 1995. Those conditions include warmer ocean waters, weaker trade winds and vertical wind shear, and an enhanced West Africa Monsoon, according to Dr. Gerry Bell, the lead hurricane season forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

Bell also mentioned in the conference call of the current neutral El Niño Southern Oscillation conditions in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. These conditions neither allow for a quiet season nor an active season. But there is concern that a La Niña pattern will lower wind shear in the Atlantic Ocean and, therefore, enhance the odds of more tropical systems.

If 2020 ends up being another above-average season in the Atlantic basin, Bell says that it would be a record five in a row.

Regardless of the predictions, it's always important to prepare for the one storm that may impact a community.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.