Forecasters are predicting a 75-percent chance that there will be a near- or above-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center announced Thursday.
There is a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season, which extends from June 1 to Nov. 30, according to the announcement from NOAA.
An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
This year, the prediction includes a 70-percent chance of 10-16 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher. Out of those storms, five to nine could become hurricanes, which have winds of 74 mph or higher, and one to four of those could be major hurricanes reaching category 3, 4 or 5 with winds of 111 mph or higher.
“With the advances made in hardware and computing over the course of the last year, the ability of NOAA scientists to both predict the path of storms and warn Americans who may find themselves in harm’s way is unprecedented,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, in a statement. “The devastating hurricane season of 2017 demonstrated the necessity for prompt and accurate hurricane forecasts.”