Forecasters said the combination of several climate factors is driving the strong likelihood for above-normal activity in the Atlantic this year. In addition to a lack of an El Niño, which usually results in stronger wind shear that can tear fledgling storms apart, sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea are warmer than normal, forecasters said.
“NOAA’s analysis of current and seasonal atmospheric conditions reveals a recipe for an active Atlantic hurricane season this year,” NOAA administrator Neil Jacobs said.
Hurricane season traditionally begins June 1 and runs through November, but last month’s Tropical Storms Arthur and Bertha briefly popped up, marking the sixth straight year a named storm came in May or earlier.
Last year’s active season saw 18 named storms and six hurricanes including three major hurricanes, Dorian, Humberto and Lorenzo. Dorian pummeled the Bahamas with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph, storm surges and torrential rain in a sustained two-day assault.