An active or possibly extremely active 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season is ahead, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in its official forecast on Thursday (May 23).
According to NOAA, 13 to 20 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher are likely to form with seven to 11 of those strengthening into hurricanes with winds of at least 74 mph.
The danger from some of those hurricanes could be great with up to six possibly reaching major hurricane status (Category 3, 4 or 5) with winds of 111 mph or higher.
All of these forecast numbers for the 2013 season are above normal. In an average season, 12 named storms form with six becoming hurricanes and three of those becoming major hurricanes.
NOAA said their forecast was based on three main factors that strongly control Atlantic hurricane season activity: the continuation of the atmospheric climate pattern that has been mostly promoting a very active Atlantic season since 1995; the warmer-than-average water temperatures in the Atlantic and Caribbean which will fuel more storms; and no expected El Nino, which if present, would limit tropical activity across the Atlantic basin.
“This year, oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the Atlantic basin are expected to produce more and stronger hurricanes,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
“These conditions include weaker wind shear, warmer Atlantic waters and conducive winds patterns coming from Africa,” Bell added.
NOAA’s seasonal hurricane outlook is not a hurricane landfall forecast and does not predict how many storms will hit land or where a storm will strike, but regardless, all residents from the Gulf Coast of Texas to Mississippi and Florida and up to Maine are strongly advised to prepare.
“The start of hurricane season is a reminder that our families, businesses and communities need to be ready for the next big storm,” said Joe Nimmich, FEMA associate administrator for Response and Recovery.
“Preparedness today can make a big difference down the line, so update your family emergency plan and make sure your emergency kit is stocked,” Nimmich added.
Next week (May 26 – June 1) is designated as National Hurricane Preparedness Week in an effort to help those living in hurricane-prone areas prepare before the season starts June 1.
NOAA will be offering hurricane preparedness tips, along with video and audio public service announcements in both English and Spanish, featuring NOAA hurricane experts and the FEMA administrator.
For the last three hurricane seasons, 19 named storms have spawn across the Atlantic basin.
Get more interesting environment and science and space news. Also, follow along with the thousands of others for periodic weather updates, news and notes on Twitter.