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. No good

    where will we get our drama and over reacting from now?!

    May 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. David

    I don't know about this......I have a feeling it's going to be really active. We already made history with Alberto being the earliest forming tropical cyclone. We had a super mild winter, record heat in the spring and which has lead to above normal Sea Surface temps. I know there are lots of other factors involved with the formation of these monster storms but I'm thinking it's going to be super busy for the NHC.

    May 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • 2bnfl

      OK I am not a forecaster, but we are wayyyyy overdue here in FL and the odds are we will be hit. It has been 4-5 years since any major hurricane.

      May 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Hunter

    I think the scientists and meteorologists who spent many years in college studying weather phenomena and making these predictions are to be commended and thanked. Their hard work saves lives. Some people have no frickin clue and like to try to demean them, but they are just showing their own stupidity.

    May 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • maggotfist

      Because no one could "predict" the numbers 1-3 right?

      May 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • ♚Mmmmm♛

      you mean the lack of appreciation for such weather indicators as lickin' dee ole index finger and stickin' it high in the

      May 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. danko

    One storm developed, another at 40% chance for formation, and we're not in the season yet. Doesn't look normal to me already.

    May 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Glad

    Good. After not having any major hurricanes in N. Florida for the past several years, we desperately need the rain that the hurricanes bring.

    On a side note, hurricanes are normal. This long period without any hurricanes is not.

    May 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. danko

    Plus, hurricanes bring jobs.

    May 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe"

    You are absolutley right. The ones that "know thier trade from college to on the job", really should be commended.
    The flip side to thier story, would be that atmospheric conditions on the Atlantic are currently such that several hurricanes my result. They don't have to go into this grandeurous song and dance about 4 – 8. People take thier talk literally, at best.

    May 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ♚Mmmmm♛

      meterologist are just glorified mathmaticians and weathermen are monitor readers...

      May 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. maggotfist

    One to three Hurricane?,....Wow, I could have predicted that!
    Why is this news?

    May 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. cleT a few years ago when they planned over ten of them and they threw in the "global warming " thing....that year we got ZERO....whatever

    May 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      Just because they don't hit land doesn't mean they don't develop. There have been no years (that I'm aware of) that at least 1 hurricane didn't form in the Atlantic.

      May 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bob American Patriot

    One thing is certain, if a major hurricane strikes the US Obama is sure to blame it on Bush!

    May 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • cleT


      May 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephen in VA

      ...while Palin and Perry blame it on Obama, right?

      May 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      I think you mean Romney will blame Obama because it happened when Obama was president. AND.....Romney
      will have a plan for preventing hurricanes in the future.

      May 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. open400

    I lived in Florida for 18 years and received so many hurricane warnings that I started to ignore them. It seems like the weatherman just liked to get on TV! One time we received and an old maintenance man began boarding up my windows at my apartment complex. Despite many hurricane warnings, the apartment complex had never boarded our windows up before. Outside the birds were making an awful squawking sound and frantically circling around, then everything went silent – no birds to be seen anywhere. The old maintenance man told me the birds knew a storm was coming and left. Six hours later hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida.

    May 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Computed

    My prediction from 20 years experience as a South Floridian.

    We are experiencing a healthy active rainy season, when that happens, we get tropical storms that form in the Gulf then cross the state. But as for Hurricanes that form off the coast of Africa and build up inertia crossing the Atlantic, those get swept north/north east. South Florida's tropical weather pattern, makes it impossible for those African storms to reach us, with out being sheered or buffered. Of course we've got a monopoly home insurance that needs to justify raising the rates, after not having a storm hit us in over 6 to 7 years. I guess if you give National Hurricane Center enough money, they'll hype and oblige feeding the hype and misinformation machine. That is why all of the Scientist resigned from the NHC at NOAA because it was turning into a paid political weather hype machine, to justify all of the live on the scene talking heads, and Homedepot, and Publix pre storm clearance sells.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Stephen in VA

    I predict over a hundred hurricane-force instances of hot air, mostly centered around Washington, D.C., between now and November 6th.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cher Jones

    Okay. A normal hurricane season. Just shifted forward a bit? We've already had T. S. Alberto in the near off-shore Atlantic and now something potentially ugly is brewing down down where the Gulf borders the Caribbean near the tip of Florida. And the season doesn't even start officially until for another week. Um... yeah. Normal. Right. Of course, I'm not a scientist. Just a coastal dweller whose spring bulbs started blooming on New Year's Day because the winter was unusually warm. But I'm afraid it's going to be a L-O-O-O-N-G, ugly season.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Fish

    I don't think they have ever really been close with these predictions. Just say we are going to have some hurricanes and they'll be right. It's like trying to predict tornados...

    May 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
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