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Five major hurricanes still expected this year

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Weather forecasters at Colorado State University and NOAA have updated their hurricane forecasts and now expect there to be as many as 25 hurricanes this year, with five of them expected to be major storms.

CSU now calls for an “extremely active” 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, which began June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

In early April, CSU forecasted an “above-average” season with 16 storms, eight of which would be hurricanes and four of which would be “major hurricanes”, reaching category 3, 4 or 5.

Now, with nine storms already formed, CSU predicts 24 named storms this year, meaning 15 more are expected in the next 12 weeks. Twelve of these storms are expected to build into hurricanes; two have already formed. And five of those are expected to be major storms. 

With no major storms yet formed, the five major storms are expected in the next 12 weeks.

Sea surface temperatures averaged across the tropical Atlantic are much warmer than normal, and vertical wind shear is well below average, CSU stated in a release announcing the new forecast. 

“We anticipate an above-normal probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean,” CSU stated.

In late May, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center forecasted 13 to 19 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which six to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including three to six major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). 

It now calls for 19 to 25 named storms, seven to 11 hurricanes, and three to six major storms.

The nine named storms that have already formed before Aug. 1 are “the most ever recorded since the satellite era began in 1966,” NOAA stated. And its 25 predicted named storms is the highest ever.

Over the past 30 years, an average of 12 storms developed, yielding an average of 6.4 hurricanes, 2.7 of which were major (on average). If this year’s predictions prove accurate, 2020 will mark the fifth year in a row of above-normal hurricane activity.

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