An “above average” Atlantic hurricane season is likely, with two to five storms potentially evolving into major systems.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week forecast 14 to 19 named storms, with five to nine developing into hurricanes and between two and five reaching Category 3 strength of 111mph or more.
Category 3 storms, which include Hurricane Nicole last year and Fabian in 2003, can result in significant structural damage and flooding of coastal areas.
In May the agency predicted 11 to 17 storms. The systems are named once their winds attain speeds of 39mph.
Noaa revised its forecast as a result of the likely absence of the Pacific El Niño, which is capable of exerting a major influence on storms in the Atlantic.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with its most active phase spanning six weeks from August 20, and peaking on September 10. On average, the Atlantic season will spawn 12 storms.
Six tropical storms have formed thus far in 2017: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily and Franklin.
Last year’s season was notably active, with 15 named storms, seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes.