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. Richard

    What, the envirokooks not crowing and whining that the end of the world is here, that hurricanes will be devastating in size and more common than before? I remember they cried wolf nearly ever year since Katrina. You know why hurricanes, tornadoes seem more common and severe now? The media, and cellphones that take video. You see the results far more often, therefore in your minds they are worse and more common, and the global warming crowd promote the LIE that things are worse, weatherwise.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joe A

    Look at that. It's as if there were a 10-11 year cycle on the weather which anyone, who has spent 30 minutes studying the patterns of weather and the cycle of the Sun, would understand as completely normal and not at all linked to whatever people are calling the farce of global warming.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • dreamer96

      There is also a cycle to Ice Ages, and destruction by asteroids too, and plagues, and ......

      May 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. safety man

    These guys can't tell us if it's gonna rain tomorrow, but were supposed to trust them this far out! Go buy batteries and plywood before it's too late.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. caroline

    There is climate change, there always has been and it's not my fault. Forest clearing is in other continents like Africa, but since they have no money the US is held responsible. Meanwhile I don't see the former Vice president and all around dumbell getting rid of his Mansion or private jet travel.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff Miller

    Don't worry bout it! The Gov will take of you and your family!

    May 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. David M

    "A near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is expected this year..."

    So this is what the "breaking news" was all about earlier? That's like saying you have breaking news that nothing is happening. But, I guess it's all about the hype.

    And in other breaking news, the sun seems to be following almost the same path as yesterday. Details at 11:00.....

    May 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Oh'really

    These "forecast" are a massive joke. They are the equivalent of changing the odds during a horse race based on standings. I'm not real happy that our tax dollars are going to speculation, something similar to the evolution theory. If you can't predict accurately, don't predict at all. I live in a hurricane zone and I learned years ago to ignore this hogwash.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      THey are usually within 2 storms of the prediction caterogies. You do realize that this forecast doesn't tell where they will just because a storm doesn't hit you, their forecast can still be right.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • DICK

      Would like to make a friendly wager. I have 20$ that says your house is destroyed by the end of the year...
      You wanna bet???

      May 24, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Horacio

      Where did you get your science degree?

      May 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. David M

    Of those four to eight hurricanes, NOAA expects one to three to be major. The Atlantic's six-month season begins June 1.

    None of them are major, unless they hit where you live. Get ready for the sensational headlines: Hurricane Patootie "slams" ashore in Florida. Hurricane Wilbur is "roaring" up the east coast and New York is "under the gun".

    May 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Brennon

    It's global warming's fault. Didn't you know? In addition to causing both abnormally warm and abnormally cold weather, global warming also causes perfectly normal weather.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • dreamer96

      Another set of names for Global Warming are La Nina and El Nino..We seem to accept the latter two name more easily..
      Our last mild winter in the US midwest was the result on a La Nina in the Pacific....

      May 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dreamer96

    Good thing Global Warming is just a myth....

    We should turn some of our old off shore old well towers into electric generators..strong waves and wind could be used to generate electricity....

    So how many homes will get destroyed by a hurricane and the owners will be turned down because they claim the damage was from flooding...and they do not cover flood damage....

    May 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. anon

    For the past few years they've been saying bigger than ever hurricane season and they were wrong. Now they are saying "normal" hurricane season because they all know it's going to be a more active season than ever. This way Al Gore and "scientists" get to say "SEE, we had a normal hurricane season forecast and it was massive, this is more proof of climate change." (because Global Warming didn't sell well).

    May 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe"

    Then send NOAA out there, and DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS.
    If we didn't have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for a "heads up", people will still have to deal with the consequenses anyways.
    I guess now that most of America has access to satellite imagery on the net. And most of America does not have to be rocket scientists to figure out what the spiral clouds near the east coast are, off of an infared sat com image. Duh! 🙂

    May 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • dreamer96

      Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe"

      Ron Paul and other GOP members want to shut down NOAA

      May 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tony

    So it's probably going to be a bad hurricane season?

    May 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      It isn't the number or size of storms that matter but where and if they make landfall. A cat 1 hitting New Orleans is far worse than a cat 5 in the middle the Atlanic thousands of miles from the nearest land. Unfortunately that is something that cannot be predicted.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff Wilson

    It's going to be a larger hurricane season than normal. El Niño will not form in the Atlantic this season.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • rosie

      Jeff – El Nino never forms in the Atlantic, it is a Pacific phenomenon.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. rosie

    So where is Global Warming?? What has happened to that sad theory? Guess it is on vacation in the netherworld where it belongs.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • JustEric


      "So where is Global Warming?? What has happened to that sad theory?"

      Don't you get it by now? EVERYTHING "proves" global warming.

      Record-high temperatures? "It's global warming!"

      Record-LOW temperatures? "Localized weather has no relation to the global temperature!"

      Record hurricane season/stronger-than-usual hurricanes? "It's global warming!"

      Normal or below-average hurricane season/normal or below-average strength hurricanes? "Global warming is kind of unpredictable like that (please ignore the fact that we claim to be able to predict it! kthx!)"

      When you're dealing with nutcases that don't base their beliefs on reality, expect their reasoning to defy...well, reason.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Goremote

      It ended in 2004........

      May 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • yeahalright

      Where'd you get your bachelor/masters/phd in climate science?

      May 24, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
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