SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – The U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center recently released its forecast for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, predicting that we could see a near-normal season this year.
The NOAA forecasts says the season could see up to 15-named storms, of which up to eight could become hurricanes, and of those, up to four could become major hurricanes with winds of 111 miles per hour or higher (category 3, 4 or 5).
An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
The hurricane season last week saw the first named storm of the season form southwest of Bermuda, namely Andrea. The subtropical system maintained tropical storm strength for a brief period before it dissipated.
The NOAA says: “This outlook reflects competing climate factors. The ongoing El Nino is expected to persist and suppress the intensity of the hurricane season. Countering El Nino is the expected combination of warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and an enhanced west African monsoon, both of which favor increased hurricane activity.”
The hurricane season officially opens on June 1 and runs to November 30.
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