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Forecasters expect active Atlantic hurricane season

Published:Thursday | May 24, 2018 | 3:33 PM
In this August 28, 2017 file photo rescue boats float on a flooded US street as people are evacuated from rising floodwaters brought on by Tropical Storm Harvey. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

U.S. government forecasters said Thursday that they were expecting an active Atlantic hurricane season.

The six-month Atlantic hurricane season officially starts June 1.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast calls for 10 to 16 named storms, with five to nine hurricanes.

One to four hurricanes could be "major" with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour or 178 kilometres per hour.

If that forecast holds, it would make for a near-normal or above-normal season.

An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

"There are no strong climate signals saying it's going to be extremely active, like last year, or extremely weak," said Gerry Bell, the lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

In the short term, forecasters say chances are increasing for the first tropical weather system of the year in the Gulf of Mexico.

NOAA predicted that 2017 would be an above-average season, and it certainly was: A trio of devastating hurricanes — Harvey, Irma and Maria — ravaged Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and many Caribbean islands.

Overall, last year saw 17 named storms, including 10 hurricanes.

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