Batten down the hatches: Experts say 2017 hurricane season could be the worst in 7 years

Batten down the hatches: Experts say 2017 hurricane season could be the worst in years

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Forecasters are now predicting a higher likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, saying the season has the potential to be “extremely active” and could be the most active since 2010 when there were 19 tropical storms including 12 hurricanes.

The U.S.-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) re-issued its scheduled update for its 2017 hurricane season outlook with a jump in the predicted number of named storms and major hurricanes.

Forecasters now say there is a 60% chance of an above-normal season compared to the May prediction of 45% chance. The NOAA is now predicting 14-19 named storms, up from the May predicted range of 11-17, and 2-5 major hurricanes, up from the May predicted range of 2-4. A prediction for 5-9 hurricanes remains unchanged from the initial May outlook.

The updated outlook is based on the current and evolving atmospheric and oceanic conditions, the most recent model predictions, and pre-and early-season storm activity. The numbers announced today include the season activity to-date.

The Atlantic basin has seen six named storms, including Arlene in April; Bret and Cindy in June; Don and Emily in July; and Franklin in August.

Franklin took aim at Mexico’s central Gulf coast last week after a run across the Yucatan Peninsula.

Two of the storms, Cindy and Emily, struck the U.S. Cindy made landfall on June 22 at the Louisiana-Texas border and caused heavy rain, inland flooding and multiple tornado outbreaks. Emily made landfall on July 31 in Anna Maria Island, Florida.

The NOAA’s update also decreases the chance of a near-normal season from 35% to 30 % and a below-normal season from 20% to only 10% from the initial outlook issued in May.

“As we move into the peak of hurricane season, when hurricanes are most frequent and at their strongest, NOAA urges coastal residents to make sure they have their hurricane preparedness plans in place and to monitor the latest forecasts.”