Forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say there's an increased chance for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year.
According to an update released Thursday, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center increased the likelihood of an above-average hurricane season to 45 percent, up from 30 percent in their May outlook. The likelihood of near-normal activity is now at 35 percent, and the chance of below-normal activity has dropped to 20 percent.
"NOAA forecasters monitoring oceanic and atmospheric patterns say conditions are now more favorable for above-normal hurricane activity since El Nino has now ended. Two named storms have formed so far this year and the peak months of the hurricane season, August through October, are now underway," NOAA said in a news release.
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The number of predicted storms was also increased, with NOAA now expecting 10-17 named storms, of which 5-9 will become hurricanes, including 2-4 major hurricanes.
"El Nino typically suppresses Atlantic hurricane activity but now that it's gone, we could see a busier season ahead," said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. "This evolution, combined with the more conducive conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995, increases the likelihood of above-normal activity this year."
The Atlantic hurricane season ends Nov. 30.