NOAA updates hurricane forecast - below normal season likely

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(WRDW/WAGT) -- Hurricane season stretches from June to November, but 95% of hurricanes form during the peak of the season from August to October. When NOAA initially issued their season outlook in May, they were forecasting a normal to above average season with 10-16 named storms, but now they are forecasting 9-13 named storms. NOAA forecasters said there is 90% chance of a below to near normal season.

Many factors go in to making these outlooks. Here is a look at the main contributing factors.

1. Weather and climate models suggest a below normal season.

2. There are much cooler sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic basin. Sea surface temperatures in the area where tropical systems develop in the Atlantic are the coolest they've been since the early 90s. Tropical systems need warm oceans to develop, so cooler temperatures suppresses activity. The cooler oceans are due to stronger trade winds, which causes upwelling of deeper cooler water to the surface.

3. There is a 70% chance of an El Nino forming over the next few months. An El Nino pattern in the Atlantic Basin means more upper level wind shear, which shreds tropical systems apart and prevents them from strengthening.

The updated forecast now calls for:
9-13 Named Storms
4-7 Hurricanes
0-2 Major Hurricanes

Even though a below average season is expected, it only takes one storm to make landfall and cause devastation. Make sure you have a plan and always stay updated on the latest tropical forecast.

To view the entire press release from NOAA, click here: http://www.noaa.gov/media-release/noaa-forecasters-lower-atlantic-hurricane-season-prediction