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By Erin Smith

 

With residents still rebuilding and repairing damage from Hurricane Matthew, the National Weather Service Office in Wilmington recently released and updated outlook for the current hurricane season. The updated forecast calls for a 60 percent chance of an above average hurricane season compared to the May prediction of a 45 percent chance.

The revised forecast calls for 14-19 named storms and 2 to 5 major hurricanes. A prediction of 5 to 9 hurricanes remains unchanged.

“We’re now entering the peak of the season when the bulk of the storms usually form,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “The wind and air patterns in the area of the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean where many storms develop are very conducive to an above-normal season. This is in part because the chance of an El Nino forming, which tends to prevent storms from strengthening, has dropped significantly from May.”

The reason for the updated forecast is climate changes including changes in wind patterns, warmer water in the tropical Atlantic Ocean, and a lowered likelihood for El Nino forming.

In the first several weeks there have been 7 named storms forming in the Atlantic. This is at least half of the number of storms for entire six month season. The hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.

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