Here’s some sobering news from NOAA. Its updated prediction for the Atlantic hurricane season, now entering its peak, calls for greater activity than normal. Indeed, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland, says the likelihood of above-normal activity is now 45 percent, a major increase from the 30 percent it had predicted in its preliminary outlook in May.
The latest prediction calls for as many as 17 named storms (with winds of 39 mph or more). As many as nine of them will become hurricanes (with winds of 74 mph or more), including two to four major hurricanes (with winds of 111 mph or more). The forecast covers the rest of the six-month-long Atlantic hurricane season that ends on Nov. 30.
NOAA made the new prediction after the end of El Niño in the Pacific; it affects the flow of weather moving across the U.S. Now, NOAA says the jet stream may move farther south than usual, resulting in an increased wind shear in the Atlantic. As a result, it says the chances of a below-normal season are just 20 percent.
In addition, the trend of warming ocean water makes storms more powerful and causes them to intensify faster. And a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, producing wetter, more intense storms. On shore, higher sea levels contribute to a greater storm surge and more storm damage. Read more: