With Hurricane season on our doorstep, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration experts have predicted an “active to extremely active” 2010 hurricane season, with a projected 14 to 23 named storms over the next six months.
The report from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, issued late last week, forecasts that eight to 14 of the storms will turn into hurricanes – three to seven of which could be a major category 3, 4 or 5, packing winds of at least 111 mph.
“If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more active on record,” NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco said in the report. “The greater likelihood of storms brings an increased risk of landfall.”
This year’s predictions exceed the usual numbers, which average about 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes, according to the report. Contributing factors this year are warmer Atlantic Ocean water temperatures – as much as four degrees higher than normal – and a weaker wind shear, which can help “tear apart” storms, the report said.
NOAA’s forecast falls in step with predictions made in April by Colorado State University storm forecasters Phil Klotzbach and William Gray, whose pre-season forecast showed 15 named storms for the Atlantic basin.