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NOAA: 6 Major Hurricanes Could Be Brewing in Atlantic

Image: NOAA: 6 Major Hurricanes Could Be Brewing in Atlantic

Hurricane Sandy aftermath in 2012. (Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 12 Aug 2016 06:56 AM

NOAA expects major Atlantic hurricane activity to ramp up later this summer, with as many as half of up to 12 named storms reaching Category 1 status or worse.

The Atlantic hurricane region includes the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

In June, NOAA predicted 10 to 16 named storms, with four to eight becoming hurricanes, noted Bloomberg. Five storms have developed in the Atlantic region so far in 2016, including a rare January hurricane, Alex.

According to an updated outlook released Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center now says there is a 70 percent chance for up to a dozen storms to form during the Atlantic Ocean hurricane season, with up to half of them becoming hurricanes.

Of those hurricanes, the center's outlook is predicting two to four of those hurricanes will develop into major hurricanes rated Category 3 or above containing wind speeds greater than 111 miles per hour, noted CNN.

The United States hasn't been hit by a major hurricane since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, according to CNN, and that's the longest the country has gone without a major hurricane hit since 1851.

"We've raised the numbers because some conditions now in place are indicative of a more active hurricane season, such as El Niño ending, weaker vertical wind shear and weaker trade winds over the central tropical Atlantic, and a stronger west African monsoon," said Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center.

The new outlook was determined in collaboration with storm experts from the National Hurricane Center and the Hurricane Research Division, said NOAA.

"Having weaker vertical wind shear, or weaker winds aloft, is important for the development of tropical storms and hurricanes," Chris Dolce, a digital meteorologist for Weather.com, said Thursday.

"This is because shower and thunderstorm activity can remain collocated with surface low pressure instead of getting blasted away by strong winds. Last year, El Niño kept strong winds aloft in place in over parts of the Atlantic basin, which in combination with dry air, led to the demise of several Atlantic storms."

Strong Atlantic storms that hit the Gulf of Mexico can threaten U.S. natural gas and crude oil production there, noted Bloomberg. The Gulf Coast hosts 45 percent of the country's petroleum refining capacity and 51 percent of its gas processing.

Storms can also harm Florida's orange market, the second largest in the world next to Brazil, said Bloomberg.

The Insurance Information Institute said 6.6 million homes are along Atlantic and Gulf Coast, with a reconstruction cost of $1.5 trillion, reported Bloomberg.

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NOAA expects major Atlantic hurricane activity to ramp up later this summer, with as many as half of up to 12 named storms reaching Category 1 status or worse.
noaa, major, hurricanes, atlantic
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2016-56-12
Friday, 12 Aug 2016 06:56 AM
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