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2018 Atlantic hurricane season outlook

Atlantic hurricane season starts today. Experts are forecasting a 75% chance that the 2018 season will be near- or above-normal, thanks in part to a weak El Niño.

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The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season starts today (June 1) and runs through November 30. Last week (May 24, 2018) NOAA released its annual hurricane season outlook. Scientists at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center are forecasting a 75 percent chance that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be near- or above-normal.

Two of the factors driving this outlook are the possibility of a weak El Niño developing, along with near-average sea surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. These factors, says the report,

.. are set upon a backdrop of atmospheric and oceanic conditions that are conducive to hurricane development and have been producing stronger Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995.

NOAA will update the 2018 Atlantic seasonal outlook in early August, just prior to the peak of the season.

Infrared satellite image of Hurricane Harvey on August 25, 2017. Image via NOAA.

More specifically, the NOAA forecasters predict 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 for this hurricane season.

Hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms: NOAA’s forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph [119 kph] or higher), including 1 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph [178 kph] or higher). An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes. Image via NOAA.

Image via NOAA.

Bottom line: NOAA’s outlook for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.

Read more from NOAA.

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Eleanor Imster

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