NOAA updates hurricane season outlook

By: Brittany Bedi | WCTV Pinpoint Weather Team
August 9, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released an updated forecast for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. The forecast calls for 9 to 13 named storms and 4 to 7 hurricanes. Of those hurricanes, up to 2 storms could reach major hurricane strength (category 3 to 5.)

According to a NOAA press release, the possibility of an El Nino pattern was taken into account when coming up with the updated forecast. This would help suppress tropical cyclone formation in the Atlantic Ocean. Sea surface temperatures across the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea are also trending lower than average this year. NOAA forecasters also note that there is stronger wind shear, drier air, and stable air over the regions where hurricanes would typically form. These would also hinder some tropical development.

The original forecast posted in May called for 10 to 16 named storms, 5 to 9 hurricanes, and 1 to 4 major hurricanes.

So far, four named storms have formed in the Atlantic Basin this year. The first storm was subtropical storm Alberto. That storm brought rain and some high wind gusts and surf to the Florida Panhandle and coastal Big Bend. Two of this season's storms became hurricanes.

Even though the season is not as active as previously expected, August and September are typically the most active months of the hurricane season. Hermine hit the Big Bend in September of 2016 and Irma during September 2017. It only takes one storm to make an impact, so it is still best to stay prepared for the rest of the season.

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