August 9th, 2012
11:55 AM ET

NOAA raises prediction for named storms

The Atlantic Ocean may have a couple more named storms this year than the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration initially predicted, the group said Thursday.

NOAA now predicts 12 to 17 named storms, up from the nine to 15 it predicted shortly before the June 1 start of hurricane season. Six named storms, including the current Tropical Storm/Hurricane Ernesto, have been produced so far.

For the Atlantic Ocean, a normal season would produce 12 named storms (with top sustained winds of at least 39 mph), including six hurricanes and three major ones.

NOAA also adjusted its predicted hurricane range, to five to eight (up from four to eight). Two to three of those should be major hurricanes, meaning Category 3 (with maximum sustained winds of at least 111 mph) or higher, NOAA says.

“We are increasing the likelihood of an above-normal season because storm-conducive wind patterns and warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures are now in place in the Atlantic,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. “These conditions are linked to the ongoing high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995. Also, strong early season activity is generally indicative of a more active season.”

NOAA scientists raised the ranges despite their belief that El Nino - unusually warm temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean - should develop in August or September. El Nino suppresses storm development, but Bell said that wasn't expected to have an influence until later in the hurricane season.

“We have a long way to go until the end of the season, and we shouldn’t let our guard down,” said Laura Furgione, acting director of NOAA’s National Weather Service.  “Hurricanes often bring dangerous inland flooding as we saw a year ago in the Northeast with Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Even people who live hundreds of miles from the coast need to remain vigilant through the remainder of the season.”

Read more:

Tropical Storm Ernesto nearing 2nd landfall 

NASA study links extreme weather, climate change

What's behind major flood disasters throughout Asia? 

FEMA: Have a plan for hurricane season

Could you survive a weather disaster?

soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. ted

    so were is the storm tracker?

    August 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Evangenital

    This season's hurricane forecast is like a yo-yo. And if it is anything like last winter, then is a joke.

    August 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • slaythedonkey

      Weather forecasters should be held somewhat accountable for the number of storms they predict, within reason. Hurricanes are major weather events that affect millions of people and thier souls.

      August 9, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dr Bix

    Just in time for the crook oil companies and greedy speculators on Wall Street to raise oil and gas prices. Thanks NOAA for giving them 5 more lame excuses.

    August 9, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JS

    The NOAA is like a bad NFL analyst getting their picks wrong every year and, then, changing them mideseason. Then, they'll be wrong again. Every year – they're always wrong! It's gotten to the point of 'who cares what they say?' Pathetic

    August 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jsl

    Have they ever really been correct with the long range predictions?

    August 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jd

    They adjust it 10 times during the season. As soon as we start getting some activity, they up the forcast. I can do that.

    August 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. myuntidydesk

    The NOAA says this every year. I live on the Texas Gulf coast and every summer I put the hurricane center link on my toolbar, make sure we have enough flashlights, batteries, etc. And of course, every summer I worry! Don't get me wrong, I am glad we have the technology to track storms, but sometimes I think the hurricane "experts" just like to scare us.

    August 9, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • angeson

      That is the truth. Weathermen try to add drama to their mundane lives by sensationalizing their reports. Emergency management goes all gustapo and evacuates half of Florida. They had me boarding up my place for 120 mhp winds when the storm turned 4 hours before. I use the NASA hydrology map to determine path.

      August 9, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Everyone better learn to make a wood gasifier stove, because when the storm rolls past your town, the only source of free energy will be wood. Wood gasifier stoves burn wood without smoke – You can boil water and heat siamin (Top Raimin) easy... Just look in Youtube for "MIDGE Woodgas Stove Build – 01" and you will see that they are cheap and easy to make...

      August 9, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MaryM

    Until the cat 5 hurricane hits, then you are glad to have these trackers

    August 9, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. s~

    from 1944 – 2002 US has averaged 5.9 hurricanes per year....

    August 9, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. angeson

    Go ahead,make my day. Everything in Florida that was build wrong already fell down.

    August 9, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John

    Meteorology has to be one of the most disappointing professions. If the season produces more storms early on, they raise their "predictions" and if there are less storms, they downgrade the predictions. That sort of approach is very much akin to calling the horse after the race.

    We could care less how many storms are predicted. We want to know more precisely how bad they will intensify and where they will strike. So stop making "predictions" that are nothing more than writing already on the wall and get busy working on making us safer in the instance of the storms, whether it's one or one hundred, which strike our communities.

    August 9, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. kahnsbushymustache

    "well, we've been wrong so far this hurricane season. How could get more wrong?" – NOAA

    August 9, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BobZemko

    I believe the NOAA about as much as I do ANY economist. Neither are ever right.

    August 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jbird68

    A bit of a terrorizing ratings grab. You know at least two, will go to the N Atlantic to die harmlessly.

    August 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Portland tony

    To what purpose does this predicted range of "named" storms serve? Is this their annual office pool? Using the same parameters, I could get 300 kindergarteners to pick one number greater than one but less than say. 20 and a 2nd number greater than your first choice but still less than 20 ...and would bet their answer would be as close as NOAA's!

    August 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
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