Experts predict up to 19 named storms in 2020
A US agency warned yesterday that up to 19 named storms could be recorded this hurricane season.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there was a 60 per cent chance of an above average hurricane season.
The agency estimated the likelihood of a near-average season was 30 per cent, with only a 10 per cent chance of a quieter than normal season.
Noaa's Climate Prediction Centre predicted between 13 and 19 named storms and that six to ten of them could become hurricanes.
The body also warned that between three and six major hurricanes — with sustained winds of at least 111mph — were expected.
The estimates only forecast storms during the hurricane season which starts on June 1 and does not include the possibility of preseason storms like Tropical Storm Arthur.
A spokesman for Noaa said: “Noaa provides these ranges with a 70 per cent confidence.”
The spokesman added: “An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.”
Neil Jacobs, the acting Noaa administrator, added: “Noaa's analysis of current and seasonal atmospheric conditions reveals a recipe for an active Atlantic hurricane season this year.
“Our skilled forecasters, coupled with upgrades to our computer models and observing technologies, will provide accurate and timely forecasts to protect life and property.”
Noaa said the above average forecast was dictated by warmer than usual water in the Atlantic among other factors.
The agency said: “El Niño southern oscillation conditions are expected to either remain neutral or to trend towards La Niña, meaning there will not be an El Niño present to suppress hurricane activity.
“Also, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, coupled with reduced vertical wind shear, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds and an enhanced west African monsoon all increase the likelihood for an above normal Atlantic hurricane season.
Noaa concluded: “Similar conditions have been producing more active seasons since the current high-activity era began in 1995.”
James Dodgson, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said yesterday: “Whether the season is forecast to be a busy one or a quiet one, the community must prepare just the same, as it only takes one significant tropical storm or hurricane to make it a busy season for Bermuda.
“The Bermuda Weather Service are running a hurricane preparedness week during the first week of June in concert with Government.”
Mr Dodgson added: This is a great opportunity for the community to think ahead to the coming hurricane season and start making timely preparations.”
The forecast was the latest of several to predict a more active than usual hurricane season.
The UK's Meteorological Office estimated on Wednesday the Atlantic would see 13 named storms over the season including seven hurricanes, three of which could reach Category 3 or higher.
The Met Office said there was a 70 per cent chance the season would include between nine and 17 named storms, between five and nine hurricanes and between two and four major hurricanes.
The Weather Company predicted 18 named storms, nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes last month and forecasters at the University of Arizona and North Carolina State University also warned of a busier that average season.