Six to 10 of these storms could develop into hurricanes, with winds of 74 miles per hour or more, and three to six could even become major hurricanes, capable of inflicting devastating damage.
NOAA notes an average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.
According to Dr. Jerry Bell, NOAA's lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with the climate prediction center, the peak months of the Atlantic hurricane season are August, September and October, and if 2020 becomes an above-normal season, "it will make a record of five consecutive above-normal Atlantic hurricane seasons and this would surpass the previous record of four set during 1998 to 2001".
Tropical storm Arthur crawled closer to the North Carolina coast, amid threats of some minor flooding and rough seas as the system moves off the Southeast seaboard.
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The first tropical storm of the year was downgraded to a post-tropical storm yesterday.
New this year, NOAA's Aviation Weather Center is expanding its Graphical Forecasts for Aviation (GFA) Tool in late June over Hawaii and portions of the Pacific Ocean.
One reason, as usual, is El Nino, or in this case the lack of El Nino. El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are expected to either remain neutral or to trend toward La Nina, meaning there will not be an El Nino present to suppress hurricane activity.
That's not necessarily a good thing.
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The Bermuda Weather Service said Tropical Storm Arthur would pass to the distant northwest of Bermuda today before it curved sharply and headed back towards the island. There were 18 named storms and 20 tropical cyclones in 2019, including three major hurricanes. Also, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, coupled with reduced vertical wind shear, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon all increase the likelihood for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.
The National Hurricane Center said the storm could drop between two and seven centimeters of rain on North Carolina.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. NOAA noted that its outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast.
This list of storm names was last used six years ago.
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The season officially extends from June through November, but Tropical Storm Arthur jumped the gun last week off the eastern US coastline.