WASHINGTON, May 24, 2018–The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a 75-percent chance the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be near or above normal.
Covering all the bases, forecasters predict a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season for 2018, which extends from June 1 to Nov. 30.
“With the advances made in hardware and computing over the course of the last year, the ability of NOAA scientists to both predict the path of storms and warn Americans who may find themselves in harm’s way is unprecedented,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The devastating hurricane season of 2017 demonstrated the necessity for prompt and accurate hurricane forecasts.”
NOAA’s forecasters predict a 70-percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which five to nine could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including one to four major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5 with winds of 111 mph or higher).
By comparison, Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorological Project also predicted a slightly above-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2018 with 14 named storms, seven to become hurricanes and three to reach major hurricane strength.
The CSU team will issue forecast updates May 31, July 2 and Aug. 2.
An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
Last year’s season generated 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes and six major hurricanes, ranking it alongside 1936 as the fifth-most active season since records began in 1851.
The possibility of a weak El Nino developing, along with near-average sea surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, are two of the factors driving NOAA’s outlook.
These factors are set upon a backdrop of atmospheric and oceanic conditions that are conducive to hurricane development and have been producing stronger Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995.
“It only takes one storm to devastate a community so now is the time to prepare” said acting Federal Emergency Management Agency Deputy Administrator Daniel Kaniewski. ” “Stay tuned to your local news and download the FEMA app to get alerts and make sure you heed any warnings issued by local officials.”
NOAA will update the 2018 Atlantic seasonal outlook in early August, just prior to the peak of the season.
Staff and NOAA news release