According to NOAA, between 11 and 17 named storms, 5 to 9 hurricanes and 2 to 4 major or major hurricanes are expected.
The predictions appeared in NOAA's official forecast for the hurricane season that begins on June 1.
"This outlook reflects our forecast of a very weak or nonexistent El Niño, near or higher than average sea surface temperatures around the Atlantic, and weaker than normal vertical wind shear (or shear wind)," he says. Gerry Bell, NOAA's chief meteorologist for the hurricane season.
The forecast of storm activity “above normal or near normal” is likely to make residents of coastal cities nervous. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, one of the most devastating in history, which came during a below-average season.
That should give people pause and remind them to have a plan and be prepared.
"This season started quickly," says Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator. Tropical Storm Arlene formed briefly in April in the Atlantic. In a very rare event, Arlene was only the second named storm of the month of April.
Experts from Colorado State University predict "slightly below normal activity" for this hurricane season, with 11 named storms, 4 hurricanes and 2 higher category hurricanes.
This forecast was made in early April when it was thought that a weak to moderate El Niño would develop at the peak of the hurricane season. Colorado State University will update its forecast for the season in June.
El Niño is a natural phenomenon characterized by the fact that the water heats up more than normal in the eastern equatorial Pacific region. Although it occurs in the Pacific Ocean, it has a wide impact on the global climate. One of its consequences is an increase in the shear wind across the tropical Atlantic, creating hostile conditions for tropical development.
Citing the effect of El Niño, experts at Colorado State University say there is a 42% chance that a major hurricane will hit the United States this season. The average risk is 52%.
Incredibly, the United States has not experienced a major hurricane since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
"About 25% of the major hurricanes that form in the Atlantic hit the United States," says Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane scientist at Colorado State University.
"We've had 31 major hurricanes since Wilma in 2005. The chances of having 31 major hurricanes formed in the Atlantic without hitting the US is 1 in 7,500," he added.
Although that streak almost ended last year, with Hurricane Matthew.
After many quiet seasons, 2016 was above normal, as expected, with 15 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes.
The major hurricane was Matthew, with its epicenter going offshore in eastern Florida and Georgia, being a major hurricane, before making landfall in South Carolina as a Category 1 storm and producing historic flooding in North Carolina .
Hurricane Hermine also passed, which was the first to make landfall in Florida in 11 years, the state with the longest streak without hurricanes.
“There is a lot of potential storm activity in the Atlantic this year. We cannot stop hurricanes, but again, we can prepare, ”Friedman emphasizes.