NOAA predicts 4-8 Atlantic hurricanes
A satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Irene on August 25, 2011, in the Caribbean Sea.
May 24th, 2012
11:34 AM ET

NOAA predicts 4-8 Atlantic hurricanes

[Updated at 1:19 p.m. ET] A near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is expected this year, with nine to 15 named storms and four to eight hurricanes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday.

Of those four to eight hurricanes, NOAA expects one to three to be major. The Atlantic's six-month season begins June 1, although it got off to an early start this year, with Tropical Storm Alberto moving through the Atlantic off the U.S. East Coast last week.

NOAA also said it predicts a near-normal season for the Eastern Pacific, estimating a 70% chance of 12 to 18 named storms with five to nine hurricanes, of which two to five would be major for that area. The Eastern Pacific's season is May 15 to November 30.

A major hurricane, designated as Category 3 or greater, has winds of well above 100 mph. The weakest hurricanes have top sustained winds of at least 74 mph, and named storms have top winds of at least 39 mph.

NOAA officials said uncertainty over whether the El Nino weather pattern will form made it difficult to be more precise in predicting the Atlantic storm season.

"If (El Nino) develops by late summer to early fall ... conditions could be less conducive for hurricane formation and intensification during the peak months (August to October) of the season, possibly shifting the activity toward the lower end of the predicted range,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

The forecasts do not predict how many of the storms will reach land.

Thursday's predictions came as a strengthening Hurricane Bud, churning in the Pacific, appeared poised to bring heavy rain to coastal southwestern Mexico.

It is extremely rare for an Eastern Pacific hurricane to affect the U.S. mainland, though some do have an influence on Hawaii.

Tropical Storm Alberto broke up in the Atlantic this week and another tropical depression was causing heavy rainfall in southern Florida, Bell said. However, he said the early storms were no harbinger of a more active season than normal.

For the Atlantic, a normal season would produce 12 named storms, including six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Last year saw 19 named storms in the Atlantic.

The Eastern Pacific's average season produces 15 named storms, with eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes, according to NOAA.

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soundoff (137 Responses)
  1. Judge Dredd

    I'm predicting another Hurricane that mostly effects black people in a negative way and they will still blame George Bush for it.

    May 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obvious Guy

      That's exactly what's going to happen.

      May 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Judge Dredd

    Why dont we have Bill Paxton drive a truck into a hurricane with some little balls so we can then be happy about predicting hurricanes.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • rtbrno65

      Because Bill Paxton is currently at war with Kevin Costner on the History Channel.

      May 29, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. Wondering999

    Theae storms should be given the first names of politicians. Then we'd see who has the most hot air!

    May 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bob

    I live on the coast of North Carolina. Every year I say the same thing. I pray for a Hurricane Category Five to pay us a visit. WAY too many stupid, bible thumpers here. I'll gladly, and quietly go too, if my prayers are ever answered.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • jrh512

      Wouldn't it be easier if you just moved your pathetic self some place else?

      May 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jrh512

    LOL – Why not get to the place where you can accurately forecast a 3-5 day forecast first?

    May 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John

    Hey NOAA, will you predict this weekends lottery numbers for me while you're predicting things? They can't even get the next day's forecast right let alone what's gonna happen this summer

    May 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TommyBoy

    I predict between 1-100. If Im right, can I have an honorary Meteorolgy PhD degree? -TB

    May 24, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bandit109

    @ Tommy Boy

    Can you derive the omega equation for quasi-geostrophic motion?

    May 25, 2012 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. eville_11

    OK this doesn't relate with the end of the world... can we get some global rocking weather patterns and a few super storms... ? Its about 6 months to D-Day, we should have some really big population killer storms soon. Maybe some theory about solar flares increasing the ferocity of hurricanes at least...

    May 25, 2012 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. J in Nassau

    You need to correct your photo caption, CNN. Hurricane Irene, as shown here, is in the ATLANTIC not the Caribbean!!

    May 28, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. thinquer

    I'm betting more storms on eastern seaboard than predicted. The waters did not cool off this winter and it will feed the storms. But what do I know?

    May 30, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Richard

    So what came of the globalwarmingkooks dire predictions of more severe, more frequent hurricanes? Just one more doomsayer prognostication down the tubes??

    June 28, 2012 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
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