Five to nine hurricanes predicted in 'near-average' 2018 season

Five to nine hurricanes predicted in 'near-average' 2018 season

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released on Thursday their forecast for this year's hurricane season.

The NOAA forecast also said about half of the 10 to 16 named storms will be hurricane strength with winds of at least 74 miles per hour (119 kph). Of those named storms, five to nine could achieve hurricane strength, with winds of at least 74 miles per hour (119 km/h) or higher, and one to four storms could develop into major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5, with winds reaching at least 111 miles per hour, or 179 km/h), according to NOAA.

Forecasters predict the hurricane season will be normal or above-normal.

An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, six of which become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

"NOAA's observational and modeling enhancements for the 2018 season put us on the path to deliver the world's best regional and global weather models", said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction.

This season's forecast calls for 10 to 16 named storms, which means tropical storms or hurricanes. "We know like past year that we get a lot of hurricanes striking in a very active season".

In addition to the Atlantic hurricane season outlook, NOAA also issued seasonal hurricane outlooks for the eastern and central Pacific basins.

The agency expects five to nine hurricanes, which have winds of 74 miles per hour or higher.

The most active Atlantic hurricane seasons during recent years were in 2010 and 2012.

A system was brewing in the southern Gulf on Thursday that has a 70 per cent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone, the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said.

The 2017 season was above average and included several major storms in the Southeast and Caribbean - including Harvey, Irma and Maria.

Ways to prepare include stocking up on a few days' worth of food and water, and making a plan in case an evacuation is ordered, experts say. A TIME examination of the past 15 years of NOAA's forecasts found that the agency's predictions of the number of significant storms, which are provided as high and low estimates, are usually correct or close to correct, with some major exceptions. It expected two to four major hurricanes; in fact, there were six major hurricanes, three of which made landfall as powerful storms.

Hurricane season hasn't officially started yet, but the storms are already brewing. 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.