NOAA Releases 2016 Hurricane Season outlook

"We all need to engage in planning and preparing right now for the upcoming hurricane season", said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., NOAA's lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center. The La Nina (the opposite), he said, is also possible this year as it moves to the other side of the spectrum where the waters of the Eastern Pacific are cooler than normal and that is now being seen as it gets to the end of the hurricane season.

The outlook this year from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is calling for a near-normal season.

The firm hasforecast uncertainty in the climate signals that influence the formation of Atlantic storms, make predicting this season particularly hard.

While forecasters have predicted a 45 percent chance for a near normal season, there's also a 30 percent chance the season will be above average and a 25 percent chance there will be below average activity.

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

Of those, 4 to 8 could become hurricanes (with winds of 74 miles per hour or higher), but anywhere from 1 to 4 could be major hurricanes (packing a strength of category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111 miles per hour or higher). They are also anticipating for up to four of those to be strong hurricanes of category 3 or higher. Last year, a strong El Niño suppressed much of the activity. A weakening El Nino in the Pacific Ocean could make conditions in the Atlantic more conducive for tropical storms and hurricanes.

"Building on a successful supercomputer upgrade in January, we're adding unprecedented new capabilities to our hurricane forecast models - investing in science and technology infusion to bring more accuracy to hurricane forecasts in 2016". We have an operational plan describing what each individual person in the department has responsibilities for and we have just finished out staff meeting discussing that.

The season peaks in September, and 80 percent of named storms between 1981 and 2010 have formed between August and October, according to The Weather Channel. To keep up with storm activity, bookmark the National Hurricane Center's website or keep an eye on your local Patch site.

Hurricane season begins today, and we are already two names deep on the annual list of storms.

A second product being tested is "Coyote:" a disposable drone first dropped into the eye of Hurricane Edouard off the Atlantic coast in 2014, providing scientists an unprecedented trove of data on the movement and intensity of the storm.

  • Gina Adkins