NOAA releases 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season predictions

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LAKELAND – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a 70% chance of a near to above-average hurricane season in its 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Seasonal Outlook.

The organization says there’s a 70% chance ten to 16 named storms will form, five to nine of which could become hurricanes, and one to four could become major hurricanes.

NOAA’s outlook predicts how active the tropics will be, not how many storms could make landfall.

“But when you have a more active season,” says NOAA meteorologist Gerry Bell, “near or above normal like we’re predicting this year to be most likely, that’s when you have more storms forming in the tropical Atlantic. Those storms tend to track farther westward, and that’s why the Caribbean and the continental United States are more at risk.”

Dr. Neil Jacobs, Assistant Secretary of Commerce For Environmental Observation & Prediction, says, “We expect ten to 16 named storms with top winds of at least 39 miles an hour. Of those five to nine will become hurricanes, with top winds of at least 74 miles an hour, including one to four major hurricanes reaching category three strength or higher… NOAA is taking great stride to deliver the world’s best regional and global weather models to keep you informed ahead of an approaching storm.”

A possible weak El NiƱo pattern and near to above-average ocean temperatures are two factors behind this prediction.

NOAA says it does not think this will be one of the most active hurricane seasons in history, but says landfalls can happen during active and quiet seasons.