Busier than normal hurricane season predicted
International meteorologists have warned that this year's hurricane season could be busier than normal.
A forecast from North Carolina State University predicted between 18 and 22 named storms for the season, which starts on June 1.
The university said that eight to 11 of the storms would reach hurricane strength — between three and five of them at least Category 3.
Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at North Carolina State, said the Gulf of Mexico was expected to see between six and ten named storms form in the region.
The release came a day after the US-based Weather Company predicted 18 named Atlantic storms in its preseason forecast.
The company said that nine were expected to hit hurricane strength and four would become major Category 3 storms.
The season on average has 10.1 named storms with 5.9 becoming hurricanes and 2.5 becoming major hurricanes.
Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist for the Weather Company, said there was a risk of a “hyperactive season” similar to 2010 and 2017.
Both forecasts focused on key factors, including surface water temperatures and a weakening El Niño.
El Niño, a weather phenomenon fuelled by warm water in the Pacific Ocean, creates wind shear that disrupts the formation of cyclones in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Weather Company said El Niño had been weak so far, but conditions were expected to change over the spring and summer.
The AccuWeather service earlier this month predicted between 14 and 18 tropical storms for the season.
AccuWeather meteorologists estimated that between seven and nine storms would reach hurricane strength and two to four could become major hurricanes.
The Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 — but storms can form outside of that period.