August 4, 2011

Ocean Gearing Up For Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season

According to government forecasters, the Atlantic hurricane season is likely to be busy with an above-average number of storms.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasters said Thursday that they expect up to 19 named storms to develop by the end of the season on November 30.

"The atmosphere and Atlantic Ocean are primed for high hurricane activity during August through October," Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center, said in a statement.  "Storms through October will form more frequently and become more intense than we've seen so far this season."

Seven to 10 of the forecast storms could become hurricanes, according to NOAA.

The six-month Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1, but the peak period for hurricanes runs from August through October.

"It is still early in this hurricane season and we know it can take only one storm to devastate communities and families," FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino said in a press release. "Many disasters come without warning, but that's not the case with hurricanes. This is hurricane season, if you haven't already, now is the time to take a few simple steps to get you and your family prepared. Anyone can visit www.ready.gov to learn more."

NOAA said factors like exceptionally warm ocean temperatures and the possible redevelopment of La Niña add more evidence to the forecast.  Reduced vertical wind shear and lower air pressure across the tropical Atlantic also favor an active season.

The Atlantic basin has already produced five tropical storms this season: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don and Emily.


Image Caption: Tropical Storm Emily on August 3 from NOAA's geostationary satellite GOES-EAST. Credit: NOAA


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