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NOAA Predicts Hurricane Season Could Be Worse Than Expected

Updated projections released on Tuesday predict 13 more named storms will form in 2019, with six being hurricanes and two classified as major hurricanes.
The worse of hurricane seasons could still lie ahead, as95% of hurricanes occur in August, September, or October.

It’s time to stock up on sandbags.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today that the chances for an above-normal hurricane season have increased by 15% since May.

“Current and predicted oceanic and atmospheric conditions now indicate a higher likelihood, a 45% chance of an above normal season. And a reduced likelihood, a 20% chance of below normal activity,” said Gerry Bell, lead hurricane forecaster for NOAA.

In May, NOAA predicted a 30% chance of an above-normal hurricane season.

This increase brings the predicted number of hurricanes for the 2019 season up from 4-8 to 5-9.

STAY PREPARED: 2019 Evacuation Zone Maps In Time For Hurricane Season

Bell said the predicted increase is due to the end of the ocean-warming trend known as El Niño.

“Back in May, the hurricane outlook reflected a 60% chance of El Niño continuing through the August through October period,” Bell said. "El Niño usually suppresses hurricanes. But now that it's dissipated, we're expecting conditions to be more favorable for storm development.”

According to NOAA, 95% of hurricanes happen during the months of August, September and October.

Bell emphasized that now is the time to prepare for a major storm.

“Regardless of the predicted activity, it only takes one storm to have catastrophic impacts on lives and communities. Coastal and inland residents need to get ready now, before a storm threatens,” he said.

“Everyone should know the risk, have a plan, and be prepared.”

Carrie Pinkard is the Stephen Noble news intern for the summer 2019 semester. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University in English, before heading to USF St Pete to pursue a master’s in journalism.