(News-Press) -- The Atlantic hurricane season is shaping up to be above normal andvery active, according to Thursday's update to NOAA's season outlook.
"Ourconfidence for an above-normal season is still high because thepredicted atmospheric and oceanic conditions that are favorable forstorm development have materialized," said Gerry Bell, lead seasonalhurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, a division ofthe National Weather Service.
"Also, two of the four namedstorms to-date formed in the deep tropical Atlantic, which historicallyis an indicator of an active season."
The season has already produced four named storms, with the peak of the season - between August and October - still to come.
The updated outlook calls for a 70 percent chance of an above-normal season, including the chance for the following:
- 13 to 19 named storms (including the storms to date: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, and Dorian)
- 6 to 9 hurricanes
- 3 to 5 could be major hurricanes
These ranges are above the 30-year seasonal averages of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
Theupdate differs from the pre-season outlook issued in May with thereduced expectation for extreme levels of activity. In May, the outlookcalled for 13-20 named storms, 7-11 hurricanes and 3-6 major hurricanes.
Currentatmospheric conditions are similar to those that have produced manyactive Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995, including above-averagesea temperatures and a stronger rainy season in West Africa, whichcontributes wind patterns that help create tropical storms andhurricanes.