Revised Forecast: ‘Below-Normal’ Hurricane Season Now Expected

WASHINGTON – It looks like the Atlantic hurricane season may be less active than previously predicted.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now says the 2018 hurricane season is shaping up to be “below-normal.”

Experts are expecting fewer hurricanes than they predicted in late May.

“There are still more storms to come — the hurricane season is far from being over,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

Nine to 13 named storms — including four to seven hurricanes and zero to two major hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher — are predicted this season, which began June 1 and runs through November 30.

The latest forecast is well short of what the Atlantic experienced in 2017, when 17 named storms formed and three major hurricanes struck the U.S.

Last year’s season ended with 10 hurricanes and six major hurricanes.

The last major hurricane to impact Cape Cod was Bob in 1991.

According to forecasters, an average six-month Atlantic season typically produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes. including three major hurricanes.

There have already been six named storms.

NOAA added that there is a 60% chance that the 2018 season will see a below-normal number of storms in the Atlantic basin.

The quieter season is due to oceanic and atmospheric conditions that have become “much more inhospitable to hurricane formation and intensification,” according to Bell.

El Niño — a natural warming of Pacific ocean water — typically suppresses hurricane activity by sending strong winds across the Atlantic and Caribbean, Bell said.

Those winds often shear apart developing storms.

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