AUSTIN, Texas — Hurricane season officially begins on June 1, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its official forecast Thursday morning.
The forecast calls for a near-normal hurricane season consisting of 12 to 17 named storms, 5 to 9 hurricanes, and 1 to 4 major hurricanes. An average hurricane season has 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.
La Niña has persisted for the last several years and helped contribute to above-average hurricane seasons. We've previously reported a transition toward El Niño later this summer into the fall. So, what does this mean for hurricane season?
Typically, El Niño brings below-average tropical activity for the Atlantic basin due to increasing wind shear. However, the Atlantic basin is currently dealing with above-average sea surface temperatures, which help fuel tropical development.
These conflicting conditions could help create an average Atlantic hurricane season.
NOAA has mentioned there will be several upgrades to its forecast this year. These upgrades include updates to the storm surge forecast, an extension of the excessive rainfall outlook and new flood inundation mapping for parts of Texas. Another notable addition is the extension of the tropical outlook range from five days to seven days.
Even though the season hasn't officially started, the National Hurricane Center is monitoring an area off the coast of the Carolinas that could develop over the next seven days.