NOAA: Atlantic hurricane season still expected to be strongest since 2012

Forecasters now expect 70-percent chance of 12 to 17 named storms

In its updated 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, NOAA calls for a higher likelihood of a near-normal or above-normal season, and decreases the chance of a below-normal season to only 15 percent, from the initial outlook issued in May. The season is still expected to be the most active since 2012.

Forecasters now expect a 70 percent chance of 12 to 17 named storms, of which 5 to 8 are expected to become hurricanes, including 2 to 4 major hurricanes. The initial outlook called for 10-16 named storms, 4 to 8 hurricanes, and 1-4 major hurricanes. The seasonal averages are 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

Atlantic-storms-NOAA-2016“We’ve raised the numbers because some conditions now in place are indicative of a more active hurricane season, such as El Niño ending, weaker vertical wind shear and weaker trade winds over the central tropical Atlantic, and a stronger west African monsoon,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “However, less conducive ocean temperature patterns in both the Atlantic and eastern subtropical North Pacific, combined with stronger wind shear and sinking motion in the atmosphere over the Caribbean Sea, are expected to prevent the season from becoming extremely active.”

“Given these competing conditions, La Niña, if it develops, will most likely be weak and have little impact on the hurricane season,” added Bell. NOAA announced today that La Niña is slightly favored to develop during the hurricane season.

To date, there have been five named storms, including two hurricanes (Alex and Earl). Four made landfall: Bonnie (in South Carolina), Colin (in western Florida), Danielle (in eastern Mexico), and Earl (in Belize and Mexico).

As we move into the peak of hurricane season, when hurricanes are most frequent and often at their strongest, NOAA urges coastal residents to make sure they have their hurricane preparedness plans in place and to monitor the latest forecasts. Learn how NOAA forecasts hurricanes.

On the Web:

Atlantic hurricane season outlook update

Atlantic hurricane season outlook (May 27)

124 thoughts on “NOAA: Atlantic hurricane season still expected to be strongest since 2012

    • Scott,
      NOAA is batting 1000 [is that the American expression? Comes from baseball I think . . .] for all their after-season reports.
      So, obviously, a ‘Forecaster’s prediction’ [Forecast? Expectation?, Hope? Blind guess? Random thingy with gut feeling added?] must be correct.
      Are there computer models in there anywhere?
      Confidently predicting that the average number of legs possessed by the winners of the 2018 Preakness and the 2018 Epsom Derby will be exactly 4.000000.

      • Right now, mid-August, there is nothing, nada not a sign of a tropical storm much less, any hurricanes.

      • I think a drunk, blindfolded, spider monkey could throw darts at a board and do better than NOAA with their seasonal hurricane outlooks some of the times. But really it’s a very tough thing to do.

      • Auto,
        I believe that the Jockey also gets credit for the win so the Leg count should be 6.000000
        (not that I’m horsing around)

  1. What a rip….they will upgrade/change their forecast as the season goes on
    Even bigger rip…if the wind is blowing, it’s a cyclone
    Big scary word that fools a lot of people

    • Interestingly there were 2 Tropical Storms in the Pacific Monday, both with sustained winds of 55 knots. The storm at the base of Baja was labeled “Tropical Storm” while the storm just east of Japan was labeled “Severe Tropical Storm” yet both had virtually the same statistics.

    • It looks like they wait for the Weatherbell Saturday Summary to say something about hurricanes before putting their forecast out.

    • Latitude August 11, 2016 at 10:05 am
      “What a rip….they will upgrade/change their forecast as the season goes on”
      How dare they use the latest evidence to shape an accurate forecast to help those who may be in the path of these terrible storms. Shame on them. They should be held accountable to the first forecast they offer.

      • Tell us how “those who may be in the path of these terrible storms” would be helped by a prediction change from ~ 10-16 named storms, 4 to 8 hurricanes, and 1-4 major hurricanes, to ~ 12 to 17 named storms, 5 to 8 hurricanes, and 2 to 4 major hurricanes . . or please drop the climate justice warrior guilt trip routine. It’s creepy to watch such puffery . .

      • ..or something like that LOL
        They always start out with a high forecast…
        …and then lower it as the season goes on
        They have no evidence, they can’t forecast squat….
        ..and their crying wolf makes people ignore them

      • “Tell us how “those who may be in the path of these terrible storms” would be helped by a prediction change from ~ 10-16 named storms, 4 to 8 hurricanes, and 1-4 major hurricanes, to ~ 12 to 17 named storms, 5 to 8 hurricanes, and 2 to 4 major hurricanes . . or please drop the climate justice warrior guilt trip routine. It’s creepy to watch such puffery . .”
        With a cynical comment like that I hope the first storm heads your way. You can take their advice or leave it…. personally I hope you leave it.

      • “You can take their advice or leave it….”
        I don’t place bets on the number of named storms in a given year or whatever, so I guess I’ll be leaving their advice . . Good luck to you though . .

      • Simon, JohnKnight’s comment is perfectly logical and rational; it is not cynical. The bottom line is people should be prepared every hurricane season because there have always been and there always will be hurricanes, global warming or not. Talking up numbers achieves nothing.

      • “accurate”? If you had actually looked at NOAAs record on these long range hurricane forecasts and updates you could not honestly make such a statement. This year they’re right in the ball park with and others but during several previous years their forecast was way out in left field because they refused to by swayed by reality when they predicted an active season initially and did not adjust in their update when the season was obviously less active than they predicted.

      • I’m a big skeptic on modeled climate, some could call me a denier. But as a boater who spends half their time away from close docks, updated forecasts are important in planning long runs. You will hit weather regardless, but if more hurricane activity is predicted, I may decrease my distance away from shore or run a little closer to marina’s with large Travellifts (big crane like devices to pull your heavy boat out of the water).

    • Greg,
      Easy for me and my trusty Tardis I borrowed from the Dr. I set the Tardis controls for September 15, 2100, Geosynchronous orbit over at 080deg W latitude position. I took my trusty iPhone and snapped a pic for you. I just got back from 2100.
      Here ya’ go:
      September 15, 2100 – Geosynchronous.
      Disclaimer: the Tardis have been known to take me to alternate reality univereses that have nothing to do with our universe….sort of like the Climate Models the IPCC uses.

    • It’s not a prediction, it is an outlook based on the current conditions that can affect development of tropical systems. These conditions change throughout the season so this is just an update on those changes.

      • It might be more helpful if the outlooks were for shorter terms than for the entire six-month season. Perhaps if it were reported that, for the short term, few if any threatening storms are expected out of Africa because winds and cooler water there are not conducive to development and prologed life, but the sea surface temps of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are conducive to the rapid development of storms, which are likely to make landfall. But who knows what October and November will look like.

      • I live in Florida also Tom and I’m not betting on these guys. Oh by the way, why do the call this Dept. this if they aren’t predictions?
        Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

    • So when they get this updated prediction wrong….LOL
      They can’t be wrong…look at their outlook probability

  2. Perhaps it would be better to give us a specific number of these events with a plus or minus number around that.

    • Tom, I just wish they would get a better storm track…
      Every round thing that comes off Africa….they aim right at us
      ..then as it gets closer…they have the “cone of death” from Rio to Maine

      • I get that. But they have to fill up air time with something. In any event, most of us that need to be watchful know what and when to be looking at these things that may come into play. Until then, let them have their day in the sun ….. clouds …… wind…… whatever.

      • Their “cone of death” is a constantly changing track and quite often the final one is 100s or even 1000s of miles off from where the first one showed the storm going. In August of 2011 they forecast the Irene hitting every single eastern seaboard state at one time or another. They started with it coming ashore right at the tip of the Florida pan handle and then went right up the coast with their “cone of death” .

    • Yes, but as hurricanes are heat engines, it is the heat flow from tropical water to polar space that drives ACE. I always thought the doomsayers had that one backward, but how would Chicken Little scare the barnyard with a prediction that the sky would fall less hard today than it did yesterday, when we all lived through the fall of yesterday.

  3. NOAA’s month to month forecasts for temperature and precipitation for the upper Midwest have been pretty bad the last two years, so why should I believe them?

  4. Glad that is settled 🙂
    Back in the day, you just took what She threw at ya.
    You knew the odds, you made your bet, and nobody cried about the outcome.

  5. At the beginning of the summer, NOAA forecast that the West Coast of the U.S. would be hotter than the center of the U.S. this summer. See the link below for a forecast map.
    The actual weather in the U.S. has been hotter in the central U.S. than on the West Coast (the normal state of affairs), and summer is almost over, so I guess NOAA missed this forecast. Maybe they will be more accurate with their hurricane forecast.

    • Not only that, but the forecasts 3 months ago with the expectations for La Niña were far stronger and colder than now. They did the same thing with the expectations for Arctic sea ice extent as well. In fact, I recall that the forecast for August was to be above the long-term normal.
      Forecasting is a crap shoot business, and NOAA is mediocre at best. If they had the best product, private companies like Joe Bastardi’s wouldn’t exist.

  6. I just checked and of course today on the day of the announcement there is ZERO storm activity in either the Atlantic or Pacific ocean nor is any storm expected develop in the next 48 hours. To me this looks like the quietest season so far. The rest of the season will have to be pretty intense to live up to their expectations.

  7. If the world were to start cooling, my understanding of how Hurricanes work would seem to indicate that we would see an increase in them due to the temperature differential between tropical and arctic regions. This increase in Hurricanes would of course be blamed on Climate Change, and they’d actually be right, but they for sure are not going to mention that it’s because the climate is cooling.

  8. So I wasn’t particularly following CAGW in 2005 (aka Katrina). Did the CAGWers wet themselves over that season? Was that year the new norm? Any links?

    • Yes, Al Gore told us that this would be the new norm. However, that was also the last year that a ‘Major Hurricane’ has made landfall in the USA (Wilma made landfall in Florida Oct 24 of that year as a Cat 3 storm). This happens to be the longest period recorded with no major hurricane making landfall in the USA (now over well over 10 years, almost 11 years).

  9. Now into the 11th year of a hurricane drought (last major one to hit US mainland was Wilma, in Oct. 2005).
    They just don’t make hurricanes like they used to.

  10. Wow.
    This is not a forecast. It’s a “now cast.”
    And it’s not hard to say hurricane count will be higher than years since 2012 when two of those years had near record low hurricane activity – namely the last two years.
    And still I think they are gonna wrong. Typically there are 2-3 tropical disturbances marching their way across from Africa on any give day in August. Right now there are NONE, and NONE expected in the next 48 hours.
    Summary – this is the worst case of political spin doctoring I’ve seen relative to the failed “CAGW will cause more hurricanes” meme.

  11. They really shouldn’t call it a “season” if they include outlier storms such as Alex that form in January/February. It should just be 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Forecast.

    • that was the late March forecast. We updated in May so if you can put that on. We expanded threat up the east coast. Please have people read it, We are thinking the problem is late developing ( outside of MDR) storms that can deepen rapidly close to land. But this was the late March forecast, the May one was on the site under it to show folks what we changed. The KAPLAN AMO was 4th highest on record, behind major ace years lf 1998,2005,2010. We are not thinking the ace is nearly that high. Please I ask all people to read the ideas we have. The link to the latest is here The first map that is posted here is there to compare to the change which is below. thanks

  12. Anywhere I can find a list of:
    1) what they have predicted in previous years (or projected, whatever term is acceptable this week) – and I mean their final FINAL list
    2) what actually occurred

    • WUWT used to post a comparison of each ‘Outlook’ update and compare it to actual. I haven’t seen that type of post for several years though. It became a boring repeat every year. The ‘Outlook’ became more dire as the year progressed, until the hurricane season was almost over, then finally it would fall in line with reality.

    • Wikipedia – enter search Atlantic Hurricane Season. This gives each hurricane year and also what the various predictions were and storm summary for each storm

      • Thanks Cam. I do the same thing with my hockey pool: see how close the experts were last year. My second team is totally random, and sometimes beats the experts.

    • ” 2) what actually occurred ” changes. and
      ” 1) what they have predicted in previous years ” changes.
      It will be just as they predicted. I’m thinking it will always be worse than what they thought. Whether it is or not, doesn’t much matter. NOAA/NASA has lost credit-ability.

  13. This looks like a good product and outlook. It does, however seem to be framed in a way to appear worse…”Strongest since 2012″.
    The 2015 Atlantic hurricane season was a slightly below average season.
    The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season was a below average season in terms of named storms, and an average season in terms of both hurricanes and major hurricanes.
    The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season was a well below average Atlantic hurricane season and the first since 1994 with no major hurricanes.
    The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season was extremely active, tied with 1887, 1995, 2010, and 2011 for having the third-most named storms on record.
    Here is the ACE index so far this year. The E/C Pacific has been the active area:

  14. NOAA used to use a 3-4 storm window for their predictions. They now use a 6-7 storm window. Sure does make it hard to be wrong when you get to make the ‘being right’ parameters as big as you want…

  15. We”re getting into prime time. We’ll need to see quite a few storms over the next 6 weeks to have an active season.

    • Nice site. Good overview and chances of getting clobbered on any given island. Up to date forecasts, and interesting tourist info.
      If you are going down there, this is one to bookmark and keep handy.

      • For local weather forecasts I expect them to be about 90% correct about the next day’s weather and exactly wrong four days or more out. I would expect something similar for seasonal predictions.

  16. We lived in Florida for four years, every year they predicted we would have a bad hurricane season, every year we were sparred. But living in France we have had one hurricane, although officially called a storm, but with sustained winds of about 90mph, back in January 2009. We lost 8 trees and had no electricity for a week!

    • Ourfrench
      One night in very late November of 2008 I was on a ship transiting the Gulf of Lion from Barcelona to Nice and we were buffeted for 3-4 hours by 70+ knot winds from the north, which I believe the French would call a tramontane. As we neared Nice the Alps were brilliantly white and appeared to crowd the beach in the cold clear sunrise. Quite a contrast from the previous balmy afternoon in Spain. The winter of 2008-2009 must have been a cold one in France.

  17. In addition to just looking at the strengths and number of hurricanes, it seems to me that their durations over their speed ranges should also be a part of a statistical data base. Does anyone know whether or not that is available, and what year it started?

    • I don’t….but good point
      With the “now” technology…and more planes available because of fewer storms
      …they are clocking 30 min durations…and classifying and naming them
      I forget which year it was…..2-3 years ago….they named four storms that were immediately downgraded as soon as they named them….but they got a name, so they counted

      • I think it is OK to name a storm as soon as there is a closed circulation with sustained winds at 39 mph because it is easier to refer to a particular storm by name, especially if there are more than one happening at a time. For instance, if TS A poses no threat to my area and TS B is going on at the same time and is a possible threat to my area I would pay attention to TS Beta news and ignore TS Alpha. And if TS C is farther out and may need my attention in a several days or so, I can hold off on concern about that for now. Again, just an easier way to tell them apart when listening to forecasts and updates.

      • I sorta agree with that…but mostly don’t
        When they find 39 in one quadrant for 10 mins…it gets a name
        ..and even if it’s a nada for the entire rest of the time…it keeps that name
        That and “cyclone” gives the impression there’s more going on than there is
        “three named storms in the Atlantic”…..and they are all three disorganized blobs with no hope of recovery

  18. Meh. Either we’ll have bad storms or we won’t, just like every other year from time immemorial.
    Mother Nature will do what she wants to do; I just hope she does it to someone else besides me.

  19. “Forecasters now expect a 70 percent chance of 12 to 17 named storms, of which 5 to 8 are expected to become hurricanes, including 2 to 4 major hurricanes.”
    Is this the approximate equivalent of 90% chance of 12 to 17 named storms and 90% chance of 5 to 8 hurricanes and 90% chance of 2 to 4 major hurricanes?
    90% seems quite high to me for each of these. (90/100)^3=73/100

    • The problem with that kind of description is you could have 12 named storms with 8 becoming hurricanes, 2 making it to major status. Or you could have 17 named storms, 5 becoming hurricanes with 4 making it to major status. Or any combination of those numbers. I still prefer they pick a single number and +/- from there.

  20. Stastically speaking,every climatological measure (given a statistically significant time) can be analysed on a bell-curve, with mean & Standard Deviation (SD).
    What this is all about is the incremental shift of each set of data as the years advance.
    Each significant shift (2xSD?) is a ‘flag’ for further research (not a Call to Arms!) otherwise it is of little statistical significance, being part of normative variance..

  21. Yogi Berra is credited as saying ” It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” NOAA was kind enough to justify there prediction (really a swag) based on “El Niño ending, weaker vertical wind shear and weaker trade winds over the central tropical Atlantic, and a stronger west African monsoon,” and goes on to say “However, less conducive ocean temperature patterns in both the Atlantic and eastern subtropical North Pacific, combined with stronger wind shear and sinking motion in the atmosphere over the Caribbean Sea, are expected to prevent the season from becoming extremely active.”
    I know NOAA is a favorite whipping boy for many; I might add, with good reason. Can someone please tell me whether the criticism of this forecast is based on conditions NOAA cites to justify their prediction (El Niño, etc.) or is the criticism based on past egregious behavior by NOAA? What basis for predicting 2016 hurricanes would be better than the ones NOAA selected?

  22. It is now mid-August and ZERO hurricane/tropical storm anything on the Atlantic side of the globe. Nothing!!!

  23. Lets remember that the worst season for the east coast, 1954 had an ace of 112 and the C storm Carol, hit on Aug 31. Our worry is not total ace in the middle of nowhere but the in close activity. The developing major cool regime in the central US means higher pressure there which enhances the storm threats in the western atlantic and gulf as it forced enhanced convergence in these areas. I appreciate people wish to look to Africa but when you look at years like 1954, you can see the big 3 did not gain storm intensity till well west, away from Africa The danger in spiking the ball on the non season is that it takes a couple of slow moving storms over the well above normal waters, lets say a couple of Joaquin type rapid feedbacks and suddenly you are in very different territory. The definition of an active season is subjective. If it hits you , its an active season. And you can imagine given the nonsense of AGW hysteria, that a 1954 season occurring now would rely on the fact people dont know about it, to push the AGW issue. My only caution is to understand this kind of SST in close to the US can turn this season in a period of a few weeks to one that is grabbing headlines. Peace

  24. Expressed in terms of confidence limits, these numbers are 14.5 +/- 17%, 6.5 +/- 23%, and 3.0 +/- 33%.
    This has all the precision of a sawed-off shotgun in the hands of a blind man.

  25. Well of course NOAA is going to say this year’s hurricane season is going to be “worse than we thought”….
    When they’re wrong, it’s forgotten, and they still get the “worse than we thought” headline at the start of the season, and if NOAA is wrong, there is ZERO accountability, and almost no MSM journalist will point out NOAA’s absolutely LOUSY record of accurately predicting ANY weather event over 10 days in the future..
    Not a bad job if you can get it…

  26. Here in the UK the Daily Mail are reporting that “Hurricane Sandy” was the deadliest hurricane to hit the US since Katrina, correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t Sandy only classified as a super tropical storm when she hit the north east coast not a hurricane.

    • Correct…
      “Superstorm Sandy” :-0, so-named because it was not even a hurricane at landfall they had to name it something that sounded even scarier.
      The only reason it’s remembered at all is that it hit a populated area and caused a lot of damage.
      If it had hit the Florida everglades where nobody lives, nobody would even remember it.

    • Sandy was a hurricane when it was in the Caribbean. As it moved north it changed into a post tropical storm. Still, it was a monster with lots energy as it hit New Jersey.

  27. Well I’ve had enough of the “dire” weather talks/predictions haven’t you?
    In the last month, our forcasters have called for 3 “major/severe/get inside now!” Storms that amounted to some spectacularly unremarkable drizzle of rain.
    Severe thunderstorm watch in effect is so overused that even here in WI, is watched closer than anyother place I’ve lived, the people are becoming jaded. Which is saying something. Now big stuff in the winter…yea they tend to get it right, but that is Winter and it doesn’t feed the CAGW machine like warmer temps and thunderstorms does.
    So you tell me, how can the same equipment that can forecast a blizzard and pretty accurately I might add, get it so wrong on a typical thunderstorm? The answer? Global warming of course! The public is more apt to believe in global warming when they aren’t shovelling 12″of snow at 30 below zero F.

  28. I live in Houma, LA. My house is about 5 houses away from the marsh that runs on for 20 miles to the Gulf. Hurricanes are important to me and mine. We are somewhat amazed at how wrong Al Gore was with that “STORMS WILL BE STRONGER AND MORE FREQUENT” prognostication. Of course he was wrong on so many other levels as well. The fear of increased storm activity reduced land values and forced local government and State Government to ad debt and taxes to pay for it to help “SAVE” us from the future of increased storms. We live in a “STATE OF FEAR”… oh!, BTW read the book by Crichton…very apropos.

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