NOAA hikes hurricane season ‘average’ to reflect more storms

Typical number of tropical cyclones each year boosted by 2

Photo does not have a caption

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The numbers 12-6-3 have been ingrained in meteorologists’ minds for a decade as the average numbers for tropical activity each year. Typically 12 tropical storms develop on average, with six becoming hurricanes and three becoming major hurricanes.

If it seems like there have been more hurricanes, you’re right.

Record numbers of hurricanes have spun out of control over the past few years, compliments of climate change.

That increase in frequency resulted Friday in NOAA released new 30-year storm averages. The numbers for the Atlantic hurricane season increased to 14 named storms and seven hurricanes. The average for major hurricanes remained unchanged at three.

NOAA is updating the set of statistics used to determine when hurricane seasons are above-, near-, or below-average relative to the climate record.

Higher averages are based on the most recent 30-year climate record.

This update process occurs once every decade. Beginning with this year’s hurricane season outlooks, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will use 1991-2020 as the new three-decade period of record.

This is not to be confused with the seasonal forecasts that predict how many storms could develop in the months ahead.

“This update allows our meteorologists to make forecasts for the hurricane season with the most relevant climate statistics taken into consideration,” said Michael Farrar, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction. “Our work illustrates the value of NOAA’s investments in next-generation technologies to capture the data that underpins our outlooks and other forecast products. These products are essential to providing the public and local emergency managers with advance information to prepare for storms, and achieving NOAA’s mission of protecting life and property.”

NOAA average hurricane season graphic

About the Author: