The NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has produced its latest outlook for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, forecasting a 40% chance of a near-normal season.
The NOAA’s outlook forecasts a 30% chance of an above-normal season and a 30% chance of a below-normal season, which officially runs from June 1st to November 30th, 2019.
For the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, the NOAA predicts a likely range of 9 to 15 named storms, of which 4 to 8 could be become hurricanes, including 2 to 4 major hurricanes. It predicts these ranges with 70% confidence.
In 2018, 15 named storms occurred in the Atlantic hurricane season, 8 of which became hurricanes, including 2 major storms. This compares to 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes and 6 major hurricanes in the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.
The NOAA notes that an average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, 6 of which become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.
Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, said: “With the 2019 hurricane season upon us, NOAA is leveraging cutting-edge tools to help secure Americans against the threat posed by hurricanes and tropical cyclones across both the Atlantic and Pacific. Throughout hurricane season, dedicated NOAA staff will remain on alert for any danger to American lives and communities.”
According to the NOAA, the ongoing El Nino is expected to persist, ultimately limiting the intensity of the 2019 hurricane season. Countering the El Nino phenomenon is the expected combination of warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, as well as an enhanced west African monsoon, which both favour greater hurricane activity.
Acting NOAA Administrator, Neil Jacobs, commented: “New satellite data and other upgrades to products and services from NOAA enable a more Weather-Ready Nation by providing the public and decision makers with the information needed to take action before, during, and after a hurricane.”
For the first time ever, the 2019 season will see the NOAA’s Earth-observing satellites include three operational next-generation satellites. At the same time, the NOAA’s National Weather Service has plans to upgrade its Global Forecast System flagship weather model early in the 2019 season. The NOAA states that this is the first major upgrade of the core of the model in almost four decades, adding that it will improve tropical cyclone track and intensity forecasts.
“NOAA is driving towards a community-based development program for future weather and climate modeling to deliver the very best forecasts, by leveraging new investments in research and working with the weather enterprise,” said Jacobs.
Daniel Kaniewski, FEMA deputy administrator for resilience, said: “Preparing ahead of a disaster is the responsibility of all levels of government, the private sector, and the public
“It only takes one event to devastate a community so now is the time to prepare. Do you have cash on hand? Do you have adequate insurance, including flood insurance? Does your family have communication and evacuation plans? Stay tuned to your local news and download the FEMA app to get alerts, and make sure you heed any warnings issued by local officials.”