NOAA upgrades forecast, boosts estimate of named storms
Published Thursday, August 9, 2012 11:41AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 9, 2012 11:02PM EDT
Forecasters are predicting another six to 11 major storms through the remainder of the Atlantic hurricane season.
In its annual August update, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) Climate Prediction Centre said up to eight of those storms are expected to become hurricanes, of which two to three will become major hurricanes with winds of nearly 180 kilometres per hour.
During its initial seasonal prediction delivered in May, NOAA forecast a normal hurricane season. However, the agency raised its outlook for hurricane season on Thursday and now expects near-normal to above-normal storm activity.
“We are increasing the likelihood of an above-normal season because storm-conducive wind patterns and warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures are now in place in the Atlantic,” said Bell. “These conditions are linked to the ongoing high activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995. Also, strong early-season activity is generally indicative of a more active season.”
This year’s Atlantic hurricane season got off to a busy start, with 6 named storms to date.
NOAA’s acting director Laura Furgione said it’s only the third time in history that two of those named storms formed before June 1, which is the official start of hurricane season.
“People should be prepared now. Even though many people live hundreds of miles inland, they should be prepared for…the potential of inland flooding,” said Furgione.
She said inland flooding has caused more than half the deaths associated with tropical cyclones in the last 30 years.
Canada’s Atlantic coast should also be prepared for an intense storm or two, according to the Canadian Hurricane Centre.
“The main thing we watch for in Canada is high pressure between Nova Scotia and Florida,” said forecaster Chris Fogarty in an interview with CTV News Channel on Thursday. “The intensity of the storms we can’t predict at this stage, but the pattern is there for more storms.”
For the entire Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, NOAA is predicting up to 17 named storms.