The number of hurricanes that develop in the Atlantic varies from year to year. For 2017, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an above average season.
Tropical cyclones, known as hurricanes in the United States, develop around the globe at different times of the year. In this country, we are most impacted by the Atlantic hurricane season, which affects the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. It runs from June 1 through November 30.
Overall, NOAA predicts a 70% likelihood of eleven to seventeen named storms forming this season, of which five to nine could become hurricanes, including two to four major hurricanes. A major hurricane is one that is rated category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
The numbers for this season’s outlook include Tropical Storm Arlene, a rare pre-season storm that developed in April.
According to NOAA, “The outlook reflects our expectation of a weak or non-existent El Niño, near or above-average sea surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, and average or weaker-than-average vertical wind shear in that same region.” El Niño conditions in the Pacific tend to cause increased wind shear in the Atlantic, which suppresses tropical development.
Regardless of the number of storms that actually form, it is important to remember that it only takes one land-falling system in your community to make it a memorable season.