(WASHINGTON) — The coming hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin is expected to be calmer than normal, but that doesn’t mean the East Coast is off the hook, according to a forecast issued Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.
There’s a 70 percent chance that the hurricane season in the Atlantic will spawn six to 11 named storms between June 1 through Nov. 30, and of those named storms, three to six could become hurricanes, including up to two major hurricanes of categories 3 to 5 during the season, forecasters said.
The main factor that is expected to suppress storms is the phenomenon known as El Niño, the cyclic warming of the ocean off the western coast of South America that is already affecting wind and pressure patterns, said forecasters, noting that it is expect to get stronger and last through the hurricane season.
A below-normal season does not mean the East Coast is off the hook, NOAA officials emphasized.
In the past, even below-normal seasons have produced catastrophic impacts to communities. For example, in 1992, there were only seven named storms, but the first storm was Andrew — a Category 5 hurricane that devastated southern Florida.
The U.S. has not been hit with a major hurricane in nearly a decade, the longest ever since scientists began keeping official records in 1851. The last record of eight years happened from 1861 to 1868. During the current “hurricane drought,” many people along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts have let their guard down, so it’s a good time to review important things to know in case a tropical storm makes landfall in your area.
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