SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Forecasters are predicting a slightly weaker Atlantic hurricane season this year.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 9 to 15 major storms are expected for the upcoming season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
Forecasters say 4 to 8 of those could become hurricanes and 2 to 4 could be major.
The outlook is near normal, according to NOAA, with:
- 30% chance of an above-normal season
- 40% chance of a near normal season
- 30% chance of a below normal season and
Dr. Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, says this year’s outlook reflects competing climate factors.
“The ongoing El Niño is expected to help suppress the activity. In contrast, warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and an expected stronger-than-normal west African monsoon favor increased activity,” he added.
Last year, Hurricanes Florence and Michael brought close to $50 billion in damage and more than 100 lives were lost.
While this year is predicted to be near-normal, NOAA says there is still a lot of activity and now is the time to prepare. NOAA encourages families to come up with an evacuation plan and speak with neighbors about theirs as well.
For more information on this year’s forecast, visit NOAA’s website here.