By Kerry SHERIDAN
Miami (AFP) Aug 9, 2017
The Atlantic Ocean now faces a higher likelihood of an "extremely active" hurricane season with more storms than previously predicted, US forecasters warned Wednesday, updating the previous outlook issued in May.
Already, six storms large enough to merit their own names have roiled the Atlantic, just one indicator of a stormier than anticipated season ahead, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
These six make up "half the number of storms during an average six-month season and double the number of storms that would typically form by early August," said the US government agency in a statement.
"The season has the potential to be extremely active, and could be the most active since 2010."
Between 14 and 19 big storms -- ranging from tropical storms to powerful hurricanes -- are now expected for the Atlantic, up from 11 to 17 predicted in the May outlook.
Five to nine of those could be hurricanes, and two to five of those could be major hurricanes.
A major hurricane means Category 3 or higher with wind speeds of 111-129 miles per hour (178-208 kilometers per hour).
Previously, NOAA said there would be two to four major hurricanes this season, and five to nine hurricanes overall.
The Atlantic storm season spans from June to November. Historically, the peak comes between August and October.
Forecasters now say there is a 60 percent chance of an above-normal season.
In May, they predicted a 45 percent chance of an above normal season.
Reasons for the unusually active season include the temperature of the tropical Atlantic.
The waters are "much warmer than average, about one to two degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average, and there is high confidence that this warmth will persist," said Gerry Bell, NOAA's lead hurricane season forecaster, during a conference call with reporters.
Also, there is significantly less likelihood that the weather phenomenon known as El Nino will form.
El Nino is an ocean warming trend that typically reduces hurricanes in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea but boosts storms in the eastern Pacific.
Another factor is the wind.
"Wind patterns that are conducive to storm development are now in place across the tropical Atlantic," Bell said.
These include weaker vertical wind shear, tradewinds and easterly wind patters coming off the west coast of Africa, he said.
All the available prediction models are pointing to a more active season than they did in May, Bell added, urging people in the region to prepare emergency kits and supplies.
The first hurricane of the season could be Franklin.
Currently a tropical storm, Franklin is predicted to reach hurricane strength later Wednesday or early Thursday when it makes landfall in Mexico.
Cancun, Mexico (AFP) Aug 9, 2017
Tropical Storm Franklin will likely strengthen into a hurricane when it makes landfall again on Mexico's eastern coastline, storm forecasters said Wednesday. Franklin made its first landfall on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula on Monday, dumping heavy rain on some of the country's premier tourist beaches. Moving west Franklin crossed the peninsula, emerging into the warm waters of the Gulf of ... read more
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|