Extremely Active Hurricane Season Possible

WASHINGTON, May 27 (UPI) — U.S. government meteorologists Thursday issued their 2010 Atlantic hurricane forecast calling for an “active to extremely active” season.

The outlook issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center covers the entire June 1-Nov. 30 hurricane season.

Forecasters project a 70 percent probability that there will be:

– 14 to 23 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher).

– 8 to 14 hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher).

– 3 to 7 major hurricanes (winds of at least 111 mph).

“If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more active on record,” NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said. “The greater likelihood of storms brings an increased risk of a landfall. In short, we urge everyone to be prepared.”

The seasonal average is 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

The meteorologists said their predictions are based on several factors, including upper atmospheric winds that are conducive for storm development and less wind shear, which can tear apart storms. They also said above average Atlantic Ocean surface temperatures will help storms develop.

NOAA’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster, Gerry Bell, said the main uncertainty in the outlook is only how much above normal the season will be.

Forecasters said they will update their hurricane forecast in early August, just prior to what is historically the peak period for Atlantic hurricane activity.

NOAA’s 2010 eastern Pacific hurricane season outlook, also issued Thursday, indicated a 75 percent chance of a below-normal season.

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