The 2018 hurricane season expected to be near or above-normal

Friday, 25 May, 2018

"We're expecting an average season, which means a lot of storms forming in the Atlantic", said Gerry Bell, lead hurricane season forecaster with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

CBS Miami reports these numbers are based on probabilities of a 40 percent chance of a near normal hurricane season, 35 percent chance of an above normal season and 25 percent of below normal activity, according to NOAA.

The 2017 hurricane season was brutal.

NOAA officials said their fleet of earth-observing satellites is "more robust than ever", providing a comprehensive picture of weather throughout the Western Hemisphere, allowing forecasters to observe storms as they develop.

NOAA's climate scientists release these estimates every May and update them later in the hurricane season.

Hurricane season will end on November 30.

At a briefing Thursday in Halifax, Bob Robichaud, a warning preparedness meteorologist at the Canadian Hurricane Centre, said normally only three to four tropical cyclones cause any concern for Canadian land or offshore waters.

A auto drives on a damaged road in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on October 2.

Tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are now near their long-term average values, according to the researchers at Colorado State.

"There are no strong climate signals saying it's going to be extremely active, like a year ago, or extremely weak", said Gerry Bell, the lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

Forecasters note sea-surface temperatures across the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea have been at near-average temperatures.

"Typically, with a more active season, the entire region around the Caribbean Sea, as well as both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the United States, are at an increased threat", Bell said.

That's what occurred in previous years, with seven named storms in 2016, and a record-smashing 15 in 2015, leading to flooding, coastal erosion, and snarled transportation routes. If that happens, and the El Niño is strong enough, "it could possibly shut down or weaken the latter part of the season", Bell said.

The U.S. was struck three times by major hurricanes - Harvey, Irma and Maria - and four hurricanes made landfall in all, including Nate, which made landfall in Mississippi.

The names for Atlantic storms are defined by the World Meteorological Organization.

"It only takes one storm to devastate a community so now is the time to prepare", acting FEMA Deputy Administrator Daniel Kaniewski said in a statement.