MIAMI: This year’s Atlantic hurricane season could be one of the busiest on record, with as many as 25 named storms, forecasters said Thursday.
Due to atmospheric and oceanic conditions, “this year, we expect more, stronger, and longer-lived storms than average,“ said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.
Forecasters predict this season will see 19 to 25 named storms, of which seven to 11 will reach hurricane strength.
Of these, three to six will be major hurricanes, with winds of 111 miles per hour (180 kph) or greater.
The NOAA was updating a forecast from May that called for 13-19 named storms, with up to 10 of them growing into hurricanes.
The NOAA said this is one of the most active forecasts it has made in its 22-year history of predicting hurricanes.
The forecast includes the nine storms -- two of which became hurricanes -- that have formed so far in what the NOAA said could be an “extremely active” hurricane season.
People in the southern US and the Caribbean have already gotten a taste of violent weather in recent weeks.
Normally, at this time of year there have only been two named storms and the ninth does not come until early October. An average season has 12 named storms.
But Isaias, the ninth storm so far, just hit the Caribbean and the US east coast, leaving five dead as if drifted between hurricane and tropical storm status.
In late July, just days before Isaias, Category 1 Hurricane Hanna formed in the Gulf of Mexico and hit Texas, but without causing major damage. -AFP