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. Bob B

    I don't think NOAA really knows what is going to happen is what I got out of the story.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. Charlie

    WAIT!!! I thought with this Global Warming we were supposed to see more storms and bigger intensity storms.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • replie

      Don't you know that normal hurricane forecasts are a direct result of global warming?!? There has been a significant increase in the number of normal hurricane seasons we've had, which is directly attributable to global warming. As are seasons in which we have more than usual, and those in which we've had less than usual.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      You are a person who does not understand the difference between weather and climate.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Square One

      Climate change IS real. Has been for billions of years. Heard of the Ice Age? Man didn't cause it. And when the ice retreated? Not our fault either. And after we are all long gone? Yep, climate will still change. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow. The fact that we are here now, and the climate is STILL changing, does not make it our doing. Since there is no way to prove that what is happening AT THIS TIME wouldn't be happening if man were not here, you can't blame us. Computer models are flawed, the science is inexact, and there are political motivations that have tainted the results. Please, open your eyes to the TRUE science of natural, cyclical climate change. And, adapt accordingly to survive.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • JLK

      Nothing like a blanket statement to prove one's ignorance! Hurricane seasons are directly impacted by the La Nina/El Nino cycle. During seasons in which an El Nino develops, hurricane activity is suppressed! This aspect of climatology has very little to do global warming! Perhaps next time you'll choose to educate yourself before opening yourself up to fair criticism!

      May 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louisiana Man

      WAIT!! Your lust in casting dispersions of global warming i., e.,climate change...may.. just may come back to haunt you in your comfy cozy home town..

      SORRY CHARLIE..Limbaugh's and faux hacks' spawn..

      its a forecast..predictions thru the medium of a sophisticated crystal ball..not written in stone fact finder..

      May 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dippity Do

      Louisiana man: lust (??) in casting ASPERSIONS, you mean, right?

      May 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Luvvy Duvvy

    These are impossible to forecast, and NOAA rarely comes close. Nothing to see here.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      If you actually look at the statistics, they usually hit within 2 storms of their predictions in all categories. That's pretty good.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. joe jones

    A near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is expected this year
    Just shut up with what' expected. I still remember the expectation of some ungodly amount of hurricanes after we just got rocked with a couple bad ones and it was all being blamed on global warming. What happened? No hurricanes for years.

    If global warming causes hurricanes does the lack of hurricanes mean global warming isn't happening? Then, just shut up with your worthless predictions.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Justa

      When was there ever "no hurricanes for years?" Because they don't make landfall doesn't mean they're any less hurricanes!

      May 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |

    Really, the so called forcast is worthless. 9 to 15 storms in the Atlantic and a 70% chance of 12 to 18 storms in the Pacific. Worthless, why bother?

    May 24, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      Not worthless for companies like insurance and re-insurance groups. They plan their fiscal years on reports like this.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. yup

    What is NOAA God...LOL they do this every year....its kinda funny because there long term forcasting stinks LOL

    May 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bob

    4 to 8? OMG!!! Raise the price of oil to $200 a barrel!! Hurry up quick raise it!!! We could run out if all 8 hit us at once!!

    May 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      hahaha that was a good one

      May 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. lolol

    you were completely wrong with your last year's prediction.
    thank you very much

    May 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      @ lolol – did you even look at last year's prediction? They pretty much nailed it.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. blueyeddevil

    The Gulf waters are warmer than normal. Not much of a winter. I think we'll see some nasty ones.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. drc

    These predictions are ridiculous....based on computer models and trends and in the end no one truly knows. I bet I could throw a dart at a dart board and get a similar accuracy if not better.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bandit109

    Last year's NOAA May 19th Prediction:
    12–18 Named storms Actual 19
    6–10 Hurricanes Actual 7
    3–6 Major hurricanes Actual 4

    Care to explain how NOAA was completely off last year?

    May 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Uhhh..those were actually pretty accurate predictions. Take a statistics class. You'll learn something about predicting behaviors. I get so weary of people shooting their mouths off about things they have not a clue about.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • bandit109

      @ Steve,

      You misunderstood my post. It was in response to the person that said NOAA was completely off in last year's prediction. I posted the numbers to show that they did a pretty good job.

      May 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TxAct

    The only thing that matters is how many hurricanes make landfall, which nobody can predict.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    So that means we're probably going to have 15-20

    May 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lars

    A "normal" hurricane season predicted?! Start worrying.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Failure

    Allah akbar!!!

    May 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
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