Atlantic hurricane season expected to be strongest since 2012


As we head into peak hurricane season, NOAA updates the forecast to a 70% chance of 12 to 17 named storms.

Every year the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) takes a look at the conditions to issue a forecast for hurricane season. This year's 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook was just updated ... and upgraded. Now NOAA is expecting a higher likelihood of a near-normal or above-normal season, and decreases the chance of a below-normal season to only 15 percent, from the initial outlook issued in May. The season is forecast to be the most active since 2012, the year that Superstorm Sandy became the second-costliest (after Hurricane Katrina) weather disaster in American history.

The NOAA forecasters expect a 70 percent chance of 12 to 17 named storms, of which five to eight are expected to become hurricanes; two to four of those are expected to become major hurricanes. The seasonal average is 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

“We’ve raised the numbers because some conditions now in place are indicative of a more active hurricane season, such as El Niño ending, weaker vertical wind shear and weaker trade winds over the central tropical Atlantic, and a stronger west African monsoon,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November; the names on the 2016 lineup are Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Matthew, Nicole, Otto, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie, and Walter.

And although hurricane season officially began on June 1st, mid-August begins the “season within the season” – an eight-week period, give or take, in which activity spikes, accounting for 78 percent of the tropical storm days, 87 percent of the category 1 and 2 hurricane days, and 96 percent of the major (category 3, 4 and 5) hurricane days. Time to batten down the hatches.

For more information, visit NOAA.

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