The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center says the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will likely be below-normal. NOAA is predicting a 70 percent likelihood of 6 to 11 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including zero to 2 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). The hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30.
With the new hurricane season comes a new prototype storm surge watch/warning graphic from NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, intended to highlight areas along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the United States that have a significant risk of life-threatening inundation by storm surge from a tropical cyclone. The new graphic will introduce the concept of a watch or warning specific to the storm surge hazard. Storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a tropical cyclone.
The new graphic reflects the outcome of the previous two sessions of the Regional Association IV Hurricane Committee and is in compliance with WMO's strategy to promote impact-based forecasting and risk-mapped warnings.
“A below-normal season doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. As we’ve seen before, below-normal seasons can still produce catastrophic impacts to communities,” said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., referring to the 1992 season in which only seven named storms formed, yet the first was Andrew – a Category 5 Major Hurricane that devastated South Florida.
NOAA also issued its outlook for the Eastern Pacific and Central Pacific basins. For the Eastern Pacific hurricane basin, NOAA’s 2015 outlook is for a 70 percent chance of an above-normal hurricane season. That outlook calls for a 70 percent probability of 15 to 22 named storms, of which 7 to 12 are expected to become hurricanes, including 5 to 8 major hurricanes. For the Central Pacific hurricane basin, NOAA’s outlook is for a 70 percent chance of an above-normal season with 5 to 8 tropical cyclones likely.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami is WMO’s Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre dedicated to short-term operational hurricane forecasting and warnings for the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific regions.
Details on tropical cyclone names