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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.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 12, 2020 - Science

Tropical Storm Eta brings more heavy rains and storm surge to Florida

A cyclist rides through the flooded street during heavy rain and wind as Tropical Storm Eta approaches the south of Florida, in Miami, Florida, for on Monday. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Tropical Storm Eta was unleashing more strong winds, heavy rains and "dangerous storm surge" over parts of Florida early Thursday, ahead of an expected second landfall in the state, per the National Hurricane Center.

The state of play: Eta was pummeling Florida's west coast overnight after briefly strengthening into a Category 1 hurricane offshore from the state's southwest. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) tweeted Wednesday evening that FEMA had granted his request for a pre-landfall emergency declaration.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Alabama's new congressional map rejected by federal judges

The Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Federal judges on Monday night blocked Alabama's newly drawn congressional map and ordered the Republican-led State Legislature to create a new one that includes two districts, rather than the planned one.

Why it matters: "Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress," the panel of three judges wrote in their ruling.