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Hurricane season ‘busier’ than usual

The 2017 hurricane season is expected to be busier than average, according to the US-based National Hurricane Centre.

According to a statement released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, forecasters are predicting a 45 per cent chance of an above-normal season, compared to a 35 per cent chance of a near-normal season and a 20 per cent chance of a below normal season.

Noaa estimates between 11 to 17 named storms including Tropical Storm Arlene, an unusual preseason storm that passed over the eastern Atlantic in April.

Meanwhile, between five and nine storms are expected to reach hurricane strength, two to four of which would become major hurricanes, reaching Category 3 strength.

Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with Noaa's Climate Prediction Centre, said: “The outlook reflects our expectation of a weak or non-existent El Niño, near or above-average sea-surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and average or weaker-than-average vertical wind shear in that same region.”

Strong El Niños and wind shear typically suppress development of Atlantic hurricanes, so weak conditions points could lead to more hurricane activity this year. Meanwhile, warmer sea surface temperatures tend to fuel hurricanes as they move across the ocean.

However, Noaa stated that their climate models are showing “considerable uncertainty,” leading to the comparable probabilities for an above-normal and near-normal season.

The 2016 season was the most active since 2012 with 15 named storms, including seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes.

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Published May 27, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated May 27, 2017 at 12:48 am)

Hurricane season ‘busier’ than usual

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