Hurricane Season Could Have More Than Two Dozen Storms, NOAA Says

In yet another dire warning about the coming Atlantic hurricane season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday predicted that this year could see between 17 to 25 named tropical cyclones, the most it has ever forecast in May for the Atlantic Ocean.

The NOAA forecast joins more than a dozen other recent projections from experts at universities, private companies and other government agencies that have predicted a likelihood of 14 or more named storms this season; many were calling for well over 20.

Rick Spinrad, the NOAA administrator, said at a news conference on Thursday morning that the agency’s forecasters believed eight to 13 of the named storms could become hurricanes, meaning they would include winds of at least 74 miles per hour. Those could include four to seven major hurricanes — Category 3 or higher — with winds of at least 111 m.p.h.

According to NOAA, there is an 85percent chance of an above-normal season and a 10 percent chance of a near-normal season, with a5 percent chance of a below-normal season. An average Atlantic hurricane season has 14 named storms, including seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

While it only takes one storm in a below-average season to devastate a community, having conditions conducive to almost twice the average amount of storms makes it more likely that North America will experience a tropical storm or, worse, a major hurricane.

There are 21 entries on this year’s official list of storm names, from Alberto to William. If that list is exhausted, the National Weather Service moves on to an alternative list of names, something it’s only had to do twice in its history.

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