NOAA Expects Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season

UPDATE: NOAA on the same day predicts a below normal east Pacific hurricane season, see below for addeddum.

Contact:          Chris Vaccaro, 202-536-8911            FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Susan Buchanan, 301-713-0622        May 27, 2010

NOAA Expects Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season

An “active to extremely active” hurricane season is expected for the Atlantic Basin this year, according to the seasonal outlook issued today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center – a division of the National Weather Service. As with every hurricane season, this outlook underscores the importance of having a hurricane preparedness plan in place.

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA is projecting a 70 percent probability of the following ranges:

  • 14 to 23 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including:
  • 8 to 14 hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which:
  • 3 to 7 could be major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)

“If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more active on record,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “The greater likelihood of storms brings an increased risk of a landfall. In short, we urge everyone to be prepared.”

The outlook ranges exceed the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes. Expected factors supporting this outlook are:

  • Upper atmospheric winds conducive for storms. Wind shear, which can tear apart storms, will be weaker since El Niño in the eastern Pacific has dissipated. Strong wind shear helped suppress storm development during the 2009 hurricane season.
  • Warm Atlantic Ocean water. Sea surface temperatures are expected to remain above average where storms often develop and move across the Atlantic. Record warm temperatures – up to four degrees Fahrenheit above average – are now present in this region.
  • High activity era continues. Since 1995, the tropical multi-decadal signal has brought favorable ocean and atmospheric conditions in sync, leading to more active hurricane seasons. Eight of the last 15 seasons rank in the top ten for the most named storms with 2005 in first place with 28 named storms.

“The main uncertainty in this outlook is how much above normal the season will be. Whether or not we approach the high end of the predicted ranges depends partly on whether or not La Niña develops this summer,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “At present we are in a neutral state, but conditions are becoming increasingly favorable for La Niña to develop.”

“FEMA is working across the administration and with our state and local partners to ensure we’re prepared for hurricane season,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “But we can only be as prepared as the public, so it’s important that families and businesses in coastal communities take steps now to be ready. These include developing a communications plan, putting together a kit, and staying informed of the latest forecasts and local emergency plans. You can’t control when a hurricane or other emergency may happen, but you can make sure you’re ready.”

The President recently designated May 23 through 29 as National Hurricane Preparedness Week. NOAA and FEMA encourage those living in hurricane-prone states to use this time to review their overall preparedness. More information on individual and family preparedness can be found at and

NOAA scientists will continue to monitor evolving conditions in the tropics and will issue an updated hurricane outlook in early August, just prior to what is historically the peak period for hurricane activity.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at or on Facebook at

On the Web:

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center:

FEMA: and

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Contact:          Susan Buchanan                                FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

301-713-0622                                      May 27, 2010

NOAA Predicts Below Normal Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season

NOAA’s National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center today announced that projected climate conditions point to a below normal hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific this year. The outlook calls for a 75 percent probability of a below normal season, a 20 percent probability of a near normal season and a five percent probability of an above normal season.

Allowing for forecast uncertainties, seasonal hurricane forecasters estimate a 70 percent chance of 9 to 15 named storms, which includes 4 to 8 hurricanes, of which 1 to 3 are expected to become major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale).

An average Eastern Pacific hurricane season produces 15 to 16 named storms, with nine becoming hurricanes and four to five becoming major hurricanes. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 through Nov. 30, with peak activity from July through September.

The main climate factors influencing this year’s Eastern Pacific outlook are the atmospheric conditions that have decreased hurricane activity over the Eastern Pacific Ocean since 1995 – and the fact that El Niño has faded.

“La Niña is becoming increasingly likely, which further raises the chance of a below-normal season for the Eastern Pacific region,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

The outlook is a general guide to the overall seasonal hurricane activity. It does not predict whether, where or when any of these storms may hit land.

Eastern Pacific tropical storms most often track westward over open waters, sometimes reaching Hawaii and beyond. However, some occasionally head toward the northeast and may bring rainfall to the arid southwestern United States during the summer months. Also, during any given season, two to three tropical storms can affect western Mexico or Central America. Residents, businesses and government agencies of coastal and near-coastal regions should always prepare prior to each and every hurricane season regardless of the seasonal hurricane outlook.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at or on Facebook at

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Robert of Ottawa

NOAA agrees with Joe Bastadi


Be interesting to see what happens. Definately something to track and check on at the end of the season.
I’m really hoping we don’t see that many hurricanes, though.


I hope they’ll be right. It could be a boon to my crude oil futures investment. (Ha).

I just wonder if La Niña is around, will that not have some impact on the surface temprature making deep cold water surface ? Bisides that did I not see somewhere it already started ?

The number of “named storms” is a very subjective and largely worthless metric, as Chris Landsea explains:


These ranges seem quite wide. How do they compare to the ranges given on previously offered (failed) predictions?

Jimmy Mac

Whatever happens, fewer hurricanes or more than usual, it’ll be used as evididence of Climate Change.

Jason Bair

I’m sure AGW will be blamed for this if it hasn’t been already.

Mike Jowsey

Supporting article:
“A hurricane researcher who rarely issues seasonal forecasts says the coming Atlantic cycle is likely to be a bad one, unleashing the sort of storms that become “the big and the ugly ones.”
Fifteen to 20 named storms may develop in the season, which begins June 1, threatening both the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. East Coast, said Greg Holland, director of the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.”
Hopefully it will break up that oil slick 😉

Ian W

The raw number of storms seen by satellite is far less important than the number that are expected to make landfall. It is notable that this level of forecast accuracy is not attempted.

frederik wisse

Apparently the NOAA forecast was drafted a couple of weeks ago .
The warm mid atlantic water is disappearing rapidly . Two days ago the hottest spot showed an anomaly of plus 2,1 degrees celsius , whilst yesterdays anomaly for the hottest spot showed a lot smaller spot with an anomaly of plus 1,77 degrees celsius , whilst at the african coast at the same time there is appearing an area with lower than normal temperatures . Given the rapid development of la nina in the pacific it all is remaining guesswork at its best and continued cooling of the atlantic may even lead to a season without hurricanes leaving at least the oil in the water of caribbean or do the noaa guys think that the south of the usa is needing the oil in order to prove that a carbon footprint is only a minor problem compared to an elvis presley style oily appearance . However it may be well received by Paris Hilton and other fashion celebrities .

I expect a busy Atlantic hurricane season. I also expect NOAA to name a storm even if it meets the requirements only for 5 seconds because NOAA knows people associate the number of names used with how active a season really is.
I think the hurricanes will either curve out to sea or stay south. It is looking like La Nina is coming. La Nina makes it hot and dry in the south-east US. Hot and dry is the result of big ridges of high pressure which is related the jet stream not dipping south. I’ve noticed that when the south-east has extended days of heat and no rain, the high pressure hovers somewhere in the area and the jet stream is very far to the north. A strong high pressure, like the ones that make it hot and dry, will cause a storm to go around it. It is too strong for a low pressure to push it out of the way. Since the high pressure is camping on the south-east area, it will drive the storm out to sea or force it south.
The areas that I think will be affected are any place on or near the Gulf of Mexico. I think that northern Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia will not have a direct strike. New York and New Jersey are actually long overdue for a category 3 storm, the last one being in the 1930’s. If a cat-3 hits New York the story will be, not the fact that we have documented proof that two cat-3 storms have already made a direct strike on New York, but how global warming is causing storms to become stronger and survive more. A blocking high pressure may force a hurricane north to New York.
I don’t have a computer model, so I don’t know for sure.

Alan the Brit

Sure, they could be right, they could wrong, let’s wait & see?
OT – Newspaper article in the south-west of England’s Western Morning News with an article by , wait for it, the “Met Office”, claiming a computer model shows the likelihood of increased droughts by 2100 depending upon different scenarios Interestingly, one model run scenario (yes soap opera terminology, at least they seem to have dropped the “story-line” term that the IPCC seems keen on) shows no increase in the normal 50-100 frequency, another showed up to 10 times the frequency, but equally interesting was that no % likely probability was given for any of the model runs, so I assume they were after all Lara Croft X-Box 360 fantasy world scenarios again!


Pretty much the same forecast as they have had for the past several years. Kind of like a stopped clock that is right twice a day, the NOAA eventually has to be right. — John M Reynolds

William Welch

I figure if they keep giving the same forecast sooner or later they will be right (broken clock and all that). I’m still hoping Dr Hansimian beats them.

Richard deSousa

What does Dr. William Gray predict???

Dr. Hansimian is the man! Er, uh the chimp!


If poster “Tom In Florida” sneezes down there, it’ll probably be declared a “named storm.”
I prefer the total storm energy tally (ACE IIRC). It takes the “to name or not to name” question out of play.

Do we believe that people have some deeper understanding of nature when they pepper the table with guesses and occasionally and rather infrequently win a few chips at a roulette wheel? Do we believe that they’re naturally “lucky”? Do we believe they’re “on a roll”?
There are help groups for gamblers who think they’ve worked out “systems” for predicting outcomes from, what is to all practical intents and purposes, incomprehensibly chaotic happenstance.


NOAA made the same prediction for the last 3 years and proved itself wrong. Eventually it will be right, but given the cooling trend off Peru, there is little reason to suppose a banner year for Hurricanes. Last year would have seemed to be a very good candidate for Hurricanes, but it was rather quiet. Which just goes to show that in addition to mega-climatic trends, local conditions greatly effect storm formation.


My money on the monkey.


Richard deSousa-The CSU forecast (Phil Klotzbach and Bill Gray) is here:
With regard to the EPAC forecast by NOAA, this is very typical, the two basins behave in complimentary ways when it comes to activity. Ryan Maue has suggested that this is because in the EPAC African Easterly Waves are an important genesis mechanism, and if those result in storms in the Atlantic, they don’t make it to EPAC. So when NATL is active, EPAC isn’t, and vice versa.

Will “Dr. James Hansimian” beat NOAA?


They will be busy naming unexisting hurricanes.

Norm Milliard

It bothers me that we never read about their ‘batting average’ for previous years’ predictions. The media jumps on their predictions. My recollection is that they’re not very successful in predicting. What is their record?


This time OIL WILL RAIN!, that will be real fun!

Henry chance

Rush Limbaugh has a better record the last few years. Where does he get his models?

alex verlinden

I can’t wait to see who is the better forecaster … (and the one we might propose to become an honorary member of the WUWT forum)
Dr James Hansimian, Ph.D. (at a trivial cost) with 6 to 8 hurricanes …
NOAA (at a slightly more than trivial cost) with 8 to 14 hurricanes …

DJ Meredith

…If I could only get a Dr. James Hansimian app for my iPhone…..

Dang, I have a hard time sorting out shades of orange. I think there’s an area of +3.5-4.0C on this, but can’t be certain.


Is low solar activity being given the proper amount of consideration in this year’s predictions? Given the cloud cosmic ray experiment producing more clouds, shouldn’t the planet remain cooler this year thus producing fewer hurricanes? My prediction is for zero to two minimal hurricanes hitting the US this year. NOAA’s scary prediction is just to whip people into a frenzy to spend lots of money preparing for something that doesn’t happen just like the past few years.

James Sexton

@ Norm Milliard
Well, it depends on if you’re going to include OB% and/or Slugging AVG or not(Bill James where are you when we need you……lol). Here is a quote from last year’s prediction……no, really it’s true!!! “NOAA’s 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook calls for a 50% chance of a near-normal season Figure 2. The outlook also indicates a 25% chance of an above-normal season and a 25% chance of a below-normal season.”….Here’s for 2008 “The Climate Prediction Center’s 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook calls a 90% probability of a near-normal or above-normal hurricane season. An above-normal season is most likely (65% chance), but there is also a 25% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. See NOAA’s definitions of above-, near-, and below-normal seasons.”
You can go here…. to check all the wonderful predictions NOAA gives us. I predict a 50% chance you’ll find it useful or interesting.

James Sexton
tom s

I was thinking/wondering if a hurricane might not actually help alleviate some of the effects of the oil spill on coastal areas, as long as it is mostly contained at the time of the storm? I would think the driving wind/wave/rain/tidal action might not clean some of the coast of residual oil. Now if the oil is still covering large sfc areas of the Gulf, I’m not sure…maybe the heavy churing/wave action and precipitation might not help there too? Enlighten me…

Rob Potter

This is the tactic – repeat the forecast enough and people remember that and not the actual numbers. I bet it is only people who read WUWT (etc.) who actually know that NOAA has been over-forecasting for the past couple of years. When the general public hears “hurricanes” they just think “Katrina” and then sees the forecast as the actual number.
This is the case for local forecasts broadcast in the media – the forecast for tomorrow is repeated time and time again, but the actual temperature (for yesterday) is given once (if at all). This is even true for the official sites – forecasts are shown for 5-7 days, but you often don’t even get yesterday’s numbers on the main page. You have to be a bit of a nerd to dig down and find out what it actually was and by then there is no record of what they forecast so you have to be an even bigger nerd to record forecasts and match them up.
We need widely reported accuracy rating of forecasters, with a defined (and enforced) method for recording of forecasts so that these can be verified. Anyone know of initiatives on this front?


I see that natural gas futures are up based on the NOAA hurricane forecast. Not that I am implying any funny stuff here, of course. I’m just noting that factoid as an observation.

Rob Potter

Just noted Norm Milliard asking for this – and James Sexton giving NOAA’s response. But again, you have to be nerds like us (sorry James) to find this information.


If Dr. Hansimian out-predicts the NOAA, it’s going to be very, very embarrassing.


I’m with Michael. The solar minimum will rule. You don’t get lots of hurricanes when you have less solar energy hitting the ocean.

L Nettles

Its worse than we thought

James Sexton

@ Rob Potter…….lol, I prefer the term geek.

Milwaukee Bob

H.R. said at 9:18 am
If poster “Tom In Florida” sneezes down there, it’ll probably be declared a “named storm.”
You think Katrina was bad, Tom and I (in Tampa) are planning to sneeze together on July 4th @ noon so it’ll not only be named, it’ll be category 6!
All kidding aside, we here take these predictions with a grain of Sea Salt and anyone with a brain who chooses to stay here thru the season gets prepared in a variety of ways depending on where you are and what condition your domicile is in. You plan for the worst and hope for the best. BUT there are events, no matter your situation, you can do NOTHING about: Storm surge (if your by the water), tornadoes and lightning and very local HEAVY RAIN. And none of the last three require an accompanying hurricane (although they are more prevalent therein) and they are far more dangerous AND UNPREDICTABLE than the wind or rain from a Cat 5!
I’ve been thru numerous hurricanes (albeit luckily on the left side, the only good thing about being on the left of anything) and very violent thunderstorms – – if I had my druthers, I’ll take a hurricane. Of course, I’m smart enough not to live right on the water. That is why, if you live in FL, you stay prepared most of the year and take H predictions with a grain of – – well, sugar if you have high blood pressure…


Seems like they agree with Joe Bastardi then. He predicted a busy hurricane season months ago, but not because of a warming planet.

R. de Haan

Right, with two different predictions released at the same date they can’t be wrong.
No monkey could make that up.
I stay with the chimp.

wayne ward

Why is so called average 11 (named storms) when in reality it is between 14 and 15? That is something I have been curious about for a long time. Is it one of those things where they have picked a time range for the average rather than use a real average?


“”pat says:
May 27, 2010 at 9:36 am
NOAA made the same prediction for the last 3 years and proved itself wrong.””
Exactly Pat
No one holds them accountable.
Every time two clouds bump, they name it.

D Scovell

Ok, if I read NOAA predictions right
1 storm each week
1 Hurricane every two weeks
1 Major hurricane each month
Seems pretty easy to predict. When can I get on the “gravy train”.

See - owe to Rich

Re Tom S at 11:11, and hurricanes being good for dissipating oil.
Some years ago, there was a really bad oil tanker accident on the west coast of the Shetlands or Orkneys. The environmentalists were up in arms about the likely destruction of puffin colonies etc. However, up there they have things called gales which easily reach hurricane force at times. There were two weeks of those and the media rapidly lost interest as the damage was so small. Which was great. But Gaia doesn’t always heal so effectively.

All I know is in the 14 years we have lived here on the Gulf coast south of Naples, it has never been this cold. You can barely stay in the pool for a half hour before you turn blue. Our coconut palms nearly croaked, our grass and bushes suffered badly all winter. It is chilly at night.
And worst of all the local fish took a huge hit from the cold. So bad that they closed the regular spring season and said they would get back to us if the fall season would open.
What did the donkey say? I think I will go with that.

Stephen Brown

I lived in Hong Kong for 28 years; the-then Royal Observatory, now the Hong Kong Observatory, always said that the long term forecasting of the number and relative strengths of typhoons was not possible.
What they did, and still do is track any tropical cyclone very carefully if it comes within 72 hours if being capable of striking Hong Kong. Detailed up-dates are given every 3 hours if the cyclone appears to be approaching. The closer the cyclone comes towards HK the more frequent the warnings.
From my own personal experiences of quite a few Number Eight typhoons and two spectacular Number Tens, I can affirm that their system works well most of the time. I remember one very powerful typhoon which was tracked as heading towards Hong Kong on a direct hit course. The Colony (as it was then) came to a halt with everyone waiting with bated breath for the forthcoming devastation. An hour before the Big Hit the typhoon veered to the east and whacked the coast of China. All we got was lots of rain! A few hours later an Observatory spokesman appeared on the TV, he apologised for what many called a false alarm but he emphasised that even with the most accurate weather radar and other instruments he could not PREDICT the course of a typhoon. It went where it went to, all he and his colleagues could do was to track where it had been and where it was; its next course or change of course was entirely unpredictable.
He stuck to his guns despite some very intensive questioning from the media and earned the respect of many in Hong Kong for his honesty.
Have a quick look at the Observatory’s site: