The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stuck by its earlier prediction today that the summer will bring with it an "above normal" Atlantic hurricane season.
"'Our confidence for an above-normal season is still high because the predicted atmospheric and oceanic conditions that are favorable for storm development have materialized,' said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. 'Also, two of the four named storms to-date formed in the deep tropical Atlantic, which historically is an indicator of an active season.'
"The conditions in place now are similar to those that have produced many active Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995, and include above-average Atlantic sea surface temperatures and a stronger rainy season in West Africa, which produces wind patterns that help turn storm systems there into tropical storms and hurricanes."
That said, the revised forecast brings slightly better news for those of us along the Atlantic.
The revised forecast calls for a 70 percent chance of 13 to 19 named storms (down from 20) and six to nine hurricanes (down from seven to 11). Three to six of those could be major, with winds of at least 111 mph.
CBS News reports the forecast was trimmed down because La Niña, which is a cooling of the central Pacific that increases hurricane activity in the Atlantic, has not developed. "While the Atlantic is as much as half a degree Fahrenheit warmer than normal, it's not as warm as some of the busier years," CBS reports.