The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a “near-normal” hurricane season in 2019, with between two and four major hurricanes expected. However, only two major hurricanes hit in 2018, but both made direct strikes on the United States, causing billions of dollars in damage and claiming dozens of lives.
The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1 and will run until Nov. 30. However, Subtropical Storm Andrea has already formed, making 2019 the fifth consecutive year to have a named storm outside of the Atlantic hurricane season.
What are the predictions for hurricanes in 2019?
About nine to 15 named storms are expected to form, including four to eight hurricanes and two to four “major” hurricanes––storms that reach Category 3 to Category 5.
This year, there is an ongoing weak El Nino, which is expected to suppress activity. At the same time, however, warmer water temperatures and a stronger than average West African monsoon are expected to increase the odds of hurricanes.
Despite the prediction of an average season, researchers remind residents along the coast that “it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them, and they need to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”
Researchers will release their final hurricane forecast for 2019 on Aug. 5.