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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Things may be looking up a little this hurricane season.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released an updated forecast for the Atlantic Hurricane Season and forecasters have increased the likelihood of a below-normal season.
NOAA meteorologists are now forecasting nine to 13 named storms, of which four to seven will become hurricanes, including up to two major Hurricanes. Back in May, NOAA had predicted 10 to 16 named storms, five to nine hurricanes, and one to four major hurricanes.
So far, we have seen four named storms, including two hurricanes.
An average six-month Hurricane season produces 12 names storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major Hurricanes. NOAA has lowered the Hurricane Season prediction due to conditions in the ocean and atmosphere producing less active hurricane season so far.
Several factors led to the change in NOAA’s Hurricane Season forecast.
El Niño is now much more likely to develop with enough strength to suppress storms development during the latter part of the season.
On Thursday, NOAA’s Climate prediction center updated its forecast to a nearly 70 percent likelihood of El Niño during the hurricane season.
Another factor playing a role is sea surface temperature across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. They have remained much cooler than average.
NOAA also says “A combination of stronger wind shear, drier air and increased stability of the atmosphere in the region where storms typically develop will further suppress hurricanes.”
Currently, there is Saharan Dust across the Atlantic which also helps to suppress cyclone development. The CBS4 Weather team is not tracking any disturbances in the tropics currently, except for Tropical Storm Debby in the far Northern Atlantic. Debby is not a threat to land and is forecast to dissipate and stay out in the open waters of the Northern Atlantic.
Hurricane season is far from over. In fact, this forecast update serves as a reminder that we are now entering the height of the season and South Floridians should still be prepared, have a Hurricane plan in place and remain vigilant. It only takes one. Hurricane Season ends November 30th.