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Below-Average Atlantic Season Predicted


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) believes that the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will be below average in terms of strength, the organization said in its official forecast on Wednesday morning.

In its annual seasonal forecast, NOAA said that they believe between six and 11 named storms – either tropical storms (39 miles-per-hour or greater) or hurricanes (74 MPH or more) – will develop, with three-to-six of those becoming hurricanes. Of those hurricanes, NOAA said zero-to-two could become major hurricanes, which indicates category 3 or greater strength (111 MPH-plus).

NOAA cited the recent development of El Niño, above-average sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean, as reason to predict a 70 percent chance of a below-average tropical season, while offering just a 20 percent risk of an average season and only a 10 percent chance of an above-average year.

The 1968-2013 average for tropical systems in the Atlantic basin is 11.9 tropical storms with 6.2 of those becoming hurricanes and 2.4 of those turning into major hurricanes.

It’s worth re-emphasizing that despite the forecast, ‘down’ seasons can often produce catastrophic results, as well. In 1992, the Atlantic season produced only one major hurricane, but that turned out to be Andrew, which killed 26 people and caused over $26 billion dollars’ worth of damage in south Florida.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on Monday (June 1st) and runs through November 30th, although the season’s first tropical storm, Ana, already formed earlier this month, producing mostly heavy rains across parts of North and South Carolina.

Stay weather aware this hurricane season and stay with WeatherNation TV and for all the latest this tropical season.

Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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