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

    I guess Floriduh is going to witness nature "standing it's ground", with no court to contest it.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • ♚Mmmmm♛

      lol...yah cracking me would be poetic!

      May 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JustEric

    @Jeff Wilson:

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

    El Niño NEVER forms in the Atlantic. It's exclusive to the Pacific.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. @ Faux Tori

    Really, why do you do this? Just post your garbage under your own name. Tori doesn't make spelling mistakes. Just. Shut. Up.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. TonyMontana1

    Tie them trailers down folks!

    May 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jenny

    more important: what are the names of the hurricanes this year?

    May 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. SlackMeyer

    Damn Global Warming/Climate Change or whatever it's called this month.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. fernace

    I hope they name a hurricane after me this year!!

    May 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Matt

    Yup.. gonna get ripped up this season.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bob B

    Climate change is real and natural, but since humans industrial revolution it's speeding things up.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. YoungBLood

    How is this news?

    May 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. GW

    Great,,,,it is that time of year for NOAA and the University of Colorado to release their useless, inaccurate predictions. Why don’t you arrogant scientist just admit you have no way of accurately predicting hurricane season? Just a reminder…. You never get it right!

    May 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ringo

    "June – too soon, July – stand by," etc, etc....Two hurricanes before Memorial Day and they are calling for this to be a normal season?

    May 24, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. rjt

    FYI, El Nino is an equatorial Pacific phenomenon but changes atmospheric circulation such that tropical system development in the Atlantic is suppressed. The La Nina has just the opposite effect. These effects will be more pronounced in any given single season than effects from global warming, which should increase the number of tropical systems that develop in general over a much longer term, essentially increasing those "normal" numbers eventually. Also, there are six rotating sets of names used for the tropical seasons in the Atlantic, listed at – names on the lists are replaced as the names of significant storms are retired.

    May 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Steve

    Global warming will likly affect everyone but it is mor ea natural phenomenon. We of course are not helping it. It is predicted that the planet has some where near 1.2 billion years remaining. So one can assume that due to temperature increases we have sustainable life for many more years. Calm down a car crash is the more likely option for death.

    May 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlie

      Global Climate Change is a more accurate term. We have 1 million years of data form the Vosotk Ice core that shows we are right where we should be.

      May 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • maggotfist


      May 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dave Tolleris

    These silly predictions make me giggle. They have no frickn clue to what will happen. Sure 1-3 will be major! Really, and they know this because????

    May 24, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • ♚Mmmmm♛

      ...with a Hurricaine Agitator Activating Rotation Pressure (HAARP)!

      May 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mother Nature

      Concur. Forecasters are wildly wrong on the numbers, and even worse with their paths.

      The NOAA last year predicted 12-18 named storms, with 9 "major" (category 3 or higher), 3 to 6 hitting the US, and all we got was Irene which was barely a cat 1.

      Look at you insurance policy, pay your premiums, and don't go looking to FEMA for handouts when your beach house washes away. Nature happens.

      May 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
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