WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will likely be below-normal, but the coastal areas may not necessarily have it easy, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA).
For the hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, NOAA is predicting a 70 percent likelihood of six to 11 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which three to six could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including zero to two major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).
While a below-normal season is likely, there is also a 20 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season.
“A below-normal season doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. As we’ve seen before, below-normal seasons can still produce catastrophic impacts to communities,” said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, referring to the 1992 season, in which only seven named storms formed, yet the first was Andrew – a Category 5 Major Hurricane.
“The main factor expected to suppress the hurricane season this year is El Niño, which is already affecting wind and pressure patterns, and is forecast to last through the hurricane season,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
“El Niño may also intensify as the season progresses, and is expected to have its greatest influence during the peak months of the season. We also expect sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic to be close to normal, whereas warmer waters would have supported storm development.”
Included in today’s outlook is Tropical Storm Ana, but its pre-season development is not an indicator of the overall season strength.
May 24 through 30, is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. To help those living in hurricane-prone areas prepare, NOAA offers hurricane preparedness tips, along with video and audio public service announcements at www.hurricanes.gov/prepare .
NOAA will issue an updated outlook for the Atlantic hurricane season in early August, just prior to the historical peak of the season. This year's storm names include Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Erika, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Joaquin, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor, and Wanda.
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