Forecasters Say We Could See More Tropical Activity This Year

There have been six named storms so far, and forecasters say we could see up to eleven more before hurricane season ends November 30. 

They say as many as six of those storms could become hurricanes. Two or three of those hurricanes could reach category three or higher. 

Lead Hurricane Forecaster Gerry Bell says they're looking at competing factors that could increase activity right now but decrease it later.

"Favoring more activity are storm-conducive wind patterns and warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures that are now in place in the tropical Atlantic as we predicted in May." 

Initial predictions for the season called for nine to fifteen named storms, four to eight hurricanes, and one to three major hurricanes.

But one thing that could keep the count low later in the season is El Nino. Bell says it's expected to arrive later this month or sometime in September.

"El Nino is a competing factor because it strengthens the vertical wind shear over the Atlantic, which in turn suppresses storm development."   

The latest predictions come near the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, the massive category five storm that slammed Florida, re-emerged in the Gulf, and later hit Louisiana.  It was the costliest hurricane ever to hit the U.S.

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