U.S. government forecasters are expecting an active Atlantic hurricane season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecast released Thursday calls for 10 to 16 named storms, with five to nine hurricanes. One to four hurricanes could be “major” with sustained winds of at least 111 mph. If that forecast holds, it would make for a near-normal or above-normal season. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. These numbers are based on probabilities of a 40 percent chance of a near-normal hurricane season, 35 percent chance of an above-normal season and 25 percent of below-normal activity, according to NOAA.
NOAA predicted that 2017 would be an above-average season, and it certainly was: A trio of devastating hurricanes – Harvey, Irma and Maria – ravaged Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and many Caribbean islands. Overall, last year saw 17 named storms, including 10 hurricanes. Six months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico was still struggling to recover.
The six-month Atlantic hurricane season officially starts June 1.