The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, will most likely be near-normal. But forecast uncertainty in the climate signals that influence the formation of Atlantic storms make predicting this season particularly difficult.
NOAA forecasts a 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms with winds of 39 mph (63 km/h) or higher. Of these, 4 to 8 could become hurricanes, with winds of 74 mph (119 km/h) or higher, including 1 to 4 major Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricanes with winds of 111 mph (178 km/h or higher).
“This is a more challenging hurricane season outlook than most because it’s difficult to determine whether there will be reinforcing or competing climate influences on tropical storm development,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. "However, a near-normal prediction for this season suggests we could see more hurricane activity than we’ve seen in the last three years, which were below normal.”