This year’s hurricane season should be normal or above normal, government forecasters said on Thursday.
“We’re not expecting the season to be one of the most active on record,” said Gerry Bell, lead hurricane season forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center. But, he said, “It’s time to start getting prepared.”
The agency’s forecasters predicted a 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms with winds of 39 miles per hour or higher. Five to nine of those could become hurricanes, with winds of 74 m.p.h. or higher, and one to four could develop into major hurricanes, which have winds of 111 m.p.h. or higher.
By comparison, an average hurricane season produces 12 named storms. Six of those typically become hurricanes and three develop into major hurricanes.
The 2017 season unleashed such powerful storms that the World Meteorological Organization officially retired the names of four of them: Harvey, which did much damage in Texas; Irma, which struck the Caribbean and the southeastern United States; Maria, which struck Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, and Nate, which hit Mississippi. (Unless they are retired, storm names are reused after six years.) Three lesser storms, Cindy, Emily and Phillipe, also struck the continental United States.