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Atlantic hurricane season expected to be near normal

hurrican satellite photo FDS.jpg
Ongoing El Nino expected to suppress developing storms in the Atlantic in 2019.

Hurricane season in 2018 was an “extremely busy” one, according to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. In fact, he recently relayed that hurricanes in 2018 caused a total of $50 billion in damages.

U.S. Department of Agriculture meteorologist Brad Rippey suggested that this year will be different due to a “really robust” El Nino continuing through the spring.

If El Nino persists throughout the summer -- the likelihood is 70% -- this will act as a suppressing factor for developing storms in the Atlantic, Rippey said. Currently, near- to below-average activity is expected in the Atlantic region. The opposite is the case for the Pacific region, where above-average activity is expected, he noted.

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration predicts with 70% confidence that the Atlantic region likely will have a range of 9-15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), four to eight of which could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including two to four major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher). An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes, the agency noted.

The eastern Pacific outlook calls for a 70% probability of 15-22 named storms, 8-13 of which are expected to become hurricanes, including four to eight major hurricanes. The central Pacific outlook calls for a 70% probability of five to eight tropical cyclones, which includes tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes.


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