The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its predictions for the Atlantic and Pacific hurricane seasons on May 23, 2019, just before the official June 1 start.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season
Despite a tropical cyclone forming prior to the official start of the season, the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season is currently expected to be “near-normal” this year. This means a likely range of 9-15 named storms, which includes 4-8 hurricanes with 2-4 becoming major hurricanes. Accuweather also released its Atlantic hurricane season forecast, which similarly predicts 12-14 named storms, but call it a “near-to-slightly-above-normal” season.
The Pacific Hurricane Season
On the other hand, NOAA’s outlook for the eastern and central Pacific regions predicts an “above-normal” season in both basins. This means a 70% likelihood of 15-22 named storms in the East Pacific, and 5-8 named storms in the Central Pacific. Accuweather seconds NOAA’s estimates, with 20-22 named storms and 6-8 named storms predicted in the east and central basins, respectively.
NOAA categorizes hurricane seasons as “above-normal,” “near-normal,” and “below-normal,” and season outlooks are based on the calculated probabilities of the three. According to NOAA, “an average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.” The factors influencing the 2019 hurricane seasons include the ongoing El Niño and warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures.
Regardless of hurricane season predictions, it’s always important to be prepared. For helpful information on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane, be sure to check out our hurricane preparedness guide.