NOAA predicts near- or above-normal 2018 hurricane season

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As for this year CBS Miami is predicting a 35 per cent chance of an above normal hurricane season for the 2018 year. But the start of summer also signals the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. Early predictions from NOAA forecasters are pointing to a high probability of another active campaign in the Atlantic Basin.

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season list of names includes several that might sound familiar, along with one new name.

We can expect five to nine hurricanes this season, with up to four reaching major hurricane strength, according to a season outlook released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"We are not expecting this season to be one of the most active on record", Gerry Bell, lead hurricane season forecaster with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said at a press conference in Lakeland, Florida.

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

Forecasters said the possibility of a weak El Nino and near-average sea surface temperatures are two factors that are driving the outlook. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. Of those storms, five to nine are predicted to mature into hurricanes, with winds reaching 74 miles per hour, while one to four of those will graduate to "major" status of at least category 3 on the five-point severity scale, with wind speeds of at least 111 miles per hour. "We could easily have a year just like last year with the same number of storms, the same ferocious intensity, and it might happen that none of them hit land - and we would never remember it", he said. NOAA's National Hurricane Center says there's "a high chance of a tropical or subtropical depression" forming in the Gulf of Mexico over Memorial Day weekend.

Earlier this week, NOAA made a similar prediction for the Central Pacific region, predicting a normal to above-normal season with as a whole, three to six tropical cyclones. Puerto Rico braced for potentially calamitous flash flooding after being pummeled by Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island and knocked out the entire electricity grid.

"There's no strong climate signal saying it's going to be extremely active, like past year, or extremely weak". "The devastating hurricane season of 2017 demonstrated the necessity for prompt and accurate hurricane forecasts".

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