9/14/2012 - NOAA increases projections for hurricanes
Though the Atlantic hurricane season has been tame through most of the summer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is upping its predicted number of hurricanes that could affect the U.S. in the weeks ahead.
The NOAA recently indicated that it is increasing the chance of seeing above-normal hurricane activity in the latter of the season by 35%. Meanwhile, it's diminishing the likelihood of the Atlantic experiencing a below-normal season by 15%. The scientific agency made its initial projections about the hurricane season this past May.
"We are increasing the likelihood of an above-normal season because storm-conducive wind patterns and warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures are now in place in the Atlantic," said Gerry Bell, forecaster at the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. "These conditions are linked to the ongoing high activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995."
As for raw numbers, NOAA says there could be between 12 and 17 named storms, eight of which may have winds in excess of 74 mph. In addition, two to three could be major, which forecasters define as any that register wind gusts of at least 111 mph.
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