As peak hurricane season begins, meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) say they’re expecting an even less active hurricane season in the Atlantic than they initially predicted in May.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center originally forecasted a 25 percent chance of a below-normal hurricane season back in May, but since sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea have remained cooler than average, NOAA has increased that number to a 60 percent chance of a below-normal season. According to the August 9 report, there’s only a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season at this point.
Currently, NOAA predicts between zero to two major hurricanes (a hurricane with winds of 111 mph or higher), four to seven hurricanes, and nine to 13 named storms. So far, there have been five named storms in the Atlantic, including Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, and Ernesto. Only Beryl and Chris strengthened into hurricanes and while Hurricane Chris became a category 2 storm back in July, it tracked away from the East Coast without causing any major damage.
#Chris is the 2nd hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season, after Hurricane #Beryl. This marks the earliest formation of a season’s 2nd hurricane since 2005. That year, Cindy and Dennis were both hurricanes by July 7. pic.twitter.com/UZ9Qxsl5tY — NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) July 10, 2018
The Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University’s forecasts reflect similar findings, with the probability of a major hurricane making landfall on the entire U.S. coastline this year at only 35 percent (down from a 52 percent average for the past 100 years).
However, just because this year shouldn’t be as active as others, all it takes is one hurricane to form and make landfall to put people’s lives and property in danger.
“Now is the time to know who issues evacuation orders in their community, heed the warnings, update your insurance and have a preparedness plan. Don’t let down your guard, late season storms are always a possibility, always keep your plans updated,” FEMA administrator Brock Long said in a statement.
The Atlantic hurricane season peaks from mid-August to late October and officially ends on November 30. To find out the rest of the hurricane names for 2018, see the full list at The Old Farmer’s Almanac.