NOAA has increased its confidence for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season in an updated outlook for the 2008 season released today. NOAA is now projecting an 85% probability of an above-normal season, up from just the 65% probability of the May outlook.
Included in these numbers are the 5 named storms already formed this season. In May, NOAA forecast just 12-16 named storms with 6-9 developing into hurricanes. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 and on average produces 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes.
Forecasters attribute this adjustment to atmospheric and oceanic conditions across the Atlantic Basin that favor storm development – combined with the strong early season activity including a very active July, the third most active since 1886.
A NOAA forecaster states:
“Leading indicators for an above-normal season during 2008 include the continuing multi-decadal signal – atmospheric and oceanic conditions that have spawned increased hurricane activity since 1995 – and the lingering effects of La NiÃ±a,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Some of these conditions include reduced wind shear, weaker trade winds, an active West African monsoon system, the winds coming off of Africa and warmer-than-average water in the Atlantic Ocean.”
The full NOAA press release can be found HERE.