NOAA Updates Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast…and It’s Good News!

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration updated this year’s Atlantic hurricane season forecast to reduce the number of storms expected.

There’s always a bit of dread in the back of my mind whenever I know a hurricane season forecast is about to be released. But today’s update from NOAA definitely put a smile on my face.

Before the start of this year’s hurricane season on June 1, NOAA predicted an above-average hurricane season. Their initial forecast called for:

  • 10 to 16 named storms (A storm is named when it reaches tropical storm strength.)
  • 5-9 hurricanes (A tropical storm becomes a Category 1 hurricane when maximum sustained winds reach a speed of 74 mph.)
  • 1-4 major hurricanes (A major hurricane is considered Category 3 or stronger.)

To be fair, it certainly looked like it was going to be an above-average season. The first named storm, in fact, formed before the season started: Alberto decided to join us in time for Memorial Day weekend in May.

Beryl and Chris, which both eventually became hurricanes, formed in July, a month that rarely sees a hurricane, not to mention two at the same time.

We’re already up to Dolly, which is spinning itself out without a threat to land in the North Atlantic, which is what I wish all hurricanes would do.

New outlook: Below-average season now expected

The August 9th update from NOAA started by saying the likelihood of a below-average hurricane season now stands at 60 percent, while the likelihood of an above-average season is now only 10 percent. (The remaining 30 percent chance is for a normal season.)

They also revised the specific storm predictions:

  • 9 to 13 named storms (Down from 10-16; We’re already at 4.)
  • 4-7 hurricanes (Down from 5-9; We’re currently at 2.)
  • 0-2 major hurricanes (Down from 1-4; We’re now at 0.)

No one is happier about this than I am. I hate hurricanes. And here in Charleston, South Carolina, we’ve had more than our share of hurricane-related problems, including serious flooding problems, over the past three years.

But remember: It only takes one!

While these numbers look much better than the original forecast, meteorologists are quick to remind us of one important point: whether there are three hurricanes or 14 in a single season, if even only one of them threatens your home, it’s a bad hurricane season.

I know that.

Still, it’s still nice to see the predicted numbers drop, even if by only a couple points.


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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.