JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – NOAA's annual seasonal outlook calls for a good chance of a near normal Atlantic hurricane season this year, with a 70% chance for nine to 15 named systems, including four to eight hurricanes and between two and four major hurricanes.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center outlook, released Thursday, forecasts a 40% chance of a near normal season, a 30% chance of an above normal season and a 30% chance of a below normal season.
An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes, Category 3 or above that have winds of 111 mph or higher.
“With the 2019 hurricane season upon us, NOAA is leveraging cutting-edge tools to help secure Americans against the threat posed by hurricanes and tropical cyclones across both the Atlantic and Pacific,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said. “Throughout hurricane season, dedicated NOAA staff will remain on alert for any danger to American lives and communities.”
This outlook reflects competing climate factors. The ongoing El Nino is expected to persist and suppress the intensity of the hurricane season. Countering El Nino is the expected combination of warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and an enhanced west African monsoon, both of which favor increased hurricane activity.
“New satellite data and other upgrades to products and services from NOAA enable a more Weather-Ready Nation by providing the public and decision makers with the information needed to take action before, during, and after a hurricane,” acting NOAA Administrator Neil Jacobs said.
The 2019 hurricane season marks the first time NOAA’s fleet of Earth-observing satellites includes three operational next generation satellites. Unique and valuable data from these satellites feed the hurricane forecast models used by forecasters to help users make critical decisions days in advance.