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Hurricane season could be extended by two weeks, forecasters say

The hurricane season could be extended by the US National Hurricane Centre (Photograph from NOAA via AP)

A US body has begun discussions about an extension to the Atlantic hurricane season after seven years in a row of preseason storms.

Ken Graham, the director of the American National Hurricane Centre, told the weather website AccuWeather that the agency had put together a team to examine starting the hurricane season on May 15 — about two weeks before the traditional start date of June 1.

Mr Graham said: “We actually took a look at history and looked at how many storms were forming before the season and came up with some interesting statistics."

He highlighted that storms had formed before June 1 regularly over the past few years.

The NHC said that the team was assembled last year to “determine quantitative thresholds for adding or removing dates from the official Atlantic hurricane season”.

The centre added that it has not been decided when the change would come into effect if it was agreed.

The change would not be the first expansion of the hurricane season.

This year’s hurricane names

Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie, Walter.

It was in the 1930s that the Atlantic hurricane season was given a June 15 start date and an October 31 end.

The season was gradually expanded until 1965, when the period from June 1 to November 30 was settled on.

Early forecasts for the 2022 hurricane season have predicted a busier-than-average season — but not as active as the 2020 and 2021 seasons, which were among the busiest recorded.

Colorado State University said in its preseason forecast yesterday that they anticipated a total of 19 named storms this year.

The university said that nine were expected to reach hurricane strength and four could become major hurricanes, reaching at least Category 3.

An average season would have 14 named storms including seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

A total of 21 named storms were recorded last year and 2020 featured a record 30 named storms.

The CSU forecast said: “Sea-surface temperatures averaged across the eastern and central tropical Atlantic are currently near average, while Caribbean and subtropical Atlantic sea-surface temperatures are warmer than normal.

“We anticipate an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean.

“As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them.

“They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”

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Published April 08, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated April 08, 2022 at 12:51 pm)

Hurricane season could be extended by two weeks, forecasters say

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