Aug 6, 2020 - Science

NOAA warns of potential for "extremely active" Atlantic hurricane season

A person watching a hurricane.

Hurricane Isaias makes landfall in Garden City, South Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasters warned Thursday of the potential for an "extremely active" hurricane season in the Atlantic.

The big picture: The agency expects 19 to 25 named storms — with three to six major hurricanes — during the six-month hurricane season, which ends Nov. 30. The average season produces only 12 named storms.

  • There have already been nine named storms during the season, significantly outpacing the usual two at this point in August. Those are included in the NOAA's count.
  • The agency said factors like warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures and reduced wind shear are contributing to the formation of more tropical storms.

What they're saying: "This year, we expect more, stronger, and longer-lived storms than average ... well above NOAA’s threshold for an extremely active season," said said Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

Worth noting: NOAA's prediction only includes the formation of storms — not that they'll necessarily make landfall.

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