Wed | Sep 23, 2020

Hurricane Alpha? - Amped-up season forecast, names may run out

Published:Friday | August 7, 2020 | 12:11 AM

Already smashing records, this year’s hyperactive Atlantic hurricane season is about to get even nastier, forecasters predict. In the coming months, they expect to run out of traditional hurricane names and see about twice as much storm activity as a normal year.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Thursday upped its seasonal forecast, now predicting a far-above-average 19 to 25 named storms – seven to 11 of them to become hurricanes and three to six of those to become major hurricanes with winds of at least 111 mph (178 kph). That’s a few more storms than the agency’s May forecast. The agency increased the chance of an above-average hurricane season from 60 per cent to 85 per cent.

“It looks like this season could be one of the more active in the historical record,” but it’s unlikely to be beat 2005’s 28 named storms because the oceans were warmer and other conditions were more conducive to storm formation 15 years ago, said NOAA lead forecaster Gerry Bell.

This year’s forecast of up to 25 is the highest number NOAA has ever predicted, beating the 21 for 2005, Bell said.

Colorado State University, which pioneered hurricane season forecasts decades ago, on Wednesday amped its forecast to 24 named storms, 12 hurricanes and 5 major hurricanes – all higher than their June forecast.