May 23, 2013
Get ready for another busy hurricane season, maybe unusually wild, federal forecasters say.
Their prediction Thursday calls for 13 to 20 named Atlantic storms, 7 to 11 that strengthen into hurricanes, and 3 to 6 that become major hurricanes.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there is a 70% chance that this year will be more active than an average hurricane season.
If you live in hurricane prone areas along the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico coasts, “This is your warning,” acting NOAA administrator Kathryn Sullivan said.
A normal year has 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major storms with winds over 110 m.p.h.
This year’s names: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.
Last year was the third-busiest on record with 19 named storms. Ten became hurricanes and were two major storms. That included Sandy, which caused an estimated $50 billion in damage.
All the factors that go into hurricane forecasts are pointing to an active season, or an extremely active one, said lead forecaster Gerry Bell of the Climate Prediction Center.
Those factors include: warmer than average ocean waters, the lack of an El Nino warming of the central Pacific Ocean, and a pattern of storm systems coming off west Africa.
The six-month season starts June 1. Forecasters name tropical storms when their top winds reach 39 m.p.h.; hurricanes have maximum winds of at least 74 m.p.h.