The average hurricane season sees three major hurricanes.
The possibility of a weak El Nino developing, along with near-average sea-surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, are two of the factors driving this outlook.
Based on long-range model solutions of these ocean patterns, there have been various forecasts put forward on what the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season may hold.
The Climate Prediction Center, which is part of NOAA, is calling for 10 to 16 named tropical systems, with five to nine of those becoming hurricanes.
"We're not expecting it to be the most active on record".
There's a 35% chance that this hurricane season will be above normal, a 40% chance for a near-normal season, and a 25% chance for a below-normal season, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which released its forecast for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season on Thursday. In the United States, the downpours could dampen Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the tourist season. "An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes", according to a NOAA press release.
Warm waters feed a hurricane's strength, while strong wind shear can pull it apart. "Right now, the water temperature in the tropical Atlantic are lower than average, but we expect as we move into the summertime, they will heat up".
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"There's going to be a fair amount of activity this year", Bell said.
Mark Wool, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Tallahassee office, said the system is forecast to make landfall somewhere in the central Gulf Coast area - the western Panhandle or further west - sometime Monday, with most of Florida experiencing heavy rains typical on the eastern side of a storm.
"We know certain areas have been compromised from last year's storm, and that makes hurricane preparedness. even more important this year", says Gerry Bell, the lead hurricane season forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center.
Environment Canada's Bob Robichaud says because of the devastation wrought by those storms, the names have been retired.
Scientists are in consensus: The 2018 hurricane season could be an active one.
Atlantic hurricane and tropical storm name lists repeat every six years, unless one is so destructive and/or deadly that a committee of the World Meteorological Organization votes to retire that name from future lists.