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May 23, 2013

Forecast: More Storms Likely During 2013 Hurricane Season

by Rosanne Skirble

The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season could be busier and deadlier than average, according to predictions released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA.

The six-month seasonal outlook for Atlantic storms will be above average says Jerry Bell, lead Atlantic hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.   

“The outlook is calling for 13 to 20 named storms, of which we expect 7 to 11 to become hurricanes and three to six to become major hurricanes. So this is a lot of activity that we are predicting for this year,” Bell said.

These ranges are well above the typical season of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Bell says it is due to a confluence of climatic factors.  

“And one of the factors again for this year is those wind and air pressure patterns that have been producing increased activities since 1995 are in place again this year. Another factor that we associate with more hurricanes is warmer Atlantic ocean temperatures and the Atlantic is again warmer this year,” Bell said.  

Another factor is the absence of an El Nino weather pattern, the upwelling of warm ocean waters in the eastern Pacific which typically reduces hurricane activity.

NOAA acting Administrator Kathryn Sullivan says the release of the Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook underscores the need for Americans to prepare for these destructive and often deadly storms.  In a statement, Sullivan reminds people that hurricane impacts are not limited to the coastlines. “Strong winds, torrential rain, flooding and tornadoes often threaten inland areas far from where the storm first makes landfall,” she said.

For the first time this year, NOAA will transmit Doppler radar data in real time, which will help forecasters better analyze evolving storm conditions.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.