US forecasters raise hurricane alert

US forecasters raise hurricane alert

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has raised its hurricane prediction for the remainder of the season, predicting two to three major storms.

The hurricane season runs until November 30 and since it started in June there have been six named storms.

The NOAA predicts there will be a further 12 to 17 named storms this season with top winds of 39 miler per hour and five to eight hurricanes bringing winds of up to 74 miles per hour.

Of these, three are expected to be classed as ‘major’ – category three, four or five storms with winds gusting up to 111 miles per hour.

The NOAA said this hurricane season had got off to a “busy start” and increased the possibility of it being an above normal season to 35% while decreasing the chance of a below normal season to 15%.

Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center said: “We are increasing the likelihood of an above-normal season because storm-conducive wind patterns and warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures are now in place in the Atlantic.

“These conditions are linked to the ongoing high activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995. Also, strong early-season activity is generally indicative of a more active season.”

Bell said he expects increased hurricane activity despite the El Nino effect, which works to suppress storms, playing a greater role from this month or September.

Laura Furgione, acting director of NOAA’s National Weather Service, said: “We have a long way to go until the end of the season, and we shouldn’t let our guard down.

“Hurricanes often bring dangerous inland flooding as we saw a year ago in the northeast with Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Even people who live hundreds of miles from the coast need to remain vigilant through the remainder of the season.”

The latest tropical storm, Ernesto, in the region was weakening this weekend as it moved inland having killed seven people in Mexico’s Gulf region.


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