Five to nine hurricanes predicted in 'near-average' 2018 season

Five to nine hurricanes predicted in 'near-average' 2018 season

NOAA's 2018 forecast is very similar to the forecast made before last year's record-setting hurricane season, but the forecast does not include a prediction of where storms will make landfall.

"It only takes one storm to devastate a community so now is the time to prepare", acting FEMA Deputy Administrator Daniel Kaniewski said in a statement.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued its prediction for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season and is predicting a near or above normal hurricane season.

An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.

After the most expensive hurricane season on record previous year, United States officials said Thursday to expect a more normal Atlantic season in 2018 with five to nine hurricanes in total.

A geocolor image from GOES-16 shows Hurricane Katia (left) Hurricane Irma (middle) and Hurricane Jose (right) in the Atlantic Ocean on September 7, 2017.

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Private forecaster Weatherbell Analytics earlier this month revised downward its forecast for named storms in 2018 from between 11 and 15 to nine to 13. And they said they expect near-average ocean temperatures, an important factor since hurricanes form and draw energy from warm water. "We can not predict how many of these storms will actually make landfall", he cautions.

NOAA touted its sophisticated technology, "from next-generation models and satellite data to new and improved forecast and graphical products", to forecast storms and help the public make informed decisions.

Neil Jacobs, the assistant secretary of commerce for environmental prediction and observation, says that NOAA predicts between 10 and 16 named storms, with sustained winds of 39 miles per hour or higher. They were among 17 storms large enough to merit their own names which tore through the Atlantic basin, including 10 hurricanes. NOAA's National Hurricane Center says there's "a high chance of a tropical or subtropical depression" forming in the Gulf of Mexico over Memorial Day weekend. One to four hurricanes could be "major" with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour (178 kph).

A year ago was particularly devastating, with hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria wreaking deadly havoc throughout the Caribbean and Atlantic region.

The season might also have a weak El Niño that could contribute to a stronger hurricane season.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria also spread a wide path of destruction previous year.