NOAA updates, decreases storm count for hurricane season

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has updated its Atlantic hurricane season outlook and it looks to be a little less stormy than previously thought.The season has already produced four named storms, with the peak of the season of mid-August through October{} yet to come.Last May, NOAA forecasters predicted 13 to 20 named storms, 7 to 11 that strengthen into hurricanes and 3 to 6 that become major hurricanes.Thursday's update calls for a 70 percent chance of 13 to 19 named storms, 6 to 9 hurricanes and 3 to 5 could be major hurricanes. These numbers include the four storms we have already seen (Andrea, Barry, Chantal, and Dorian). The updates predictions are still higher than the 30-year seasonal averages of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes."Our confidence for an above-normal season is still high because the predicted atmospheric and oceanic conditions that are favorable for storm development have materialized," said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. "Also, two of the four named storms to-date formed in the deep tropical Atlantic, which historically is an indicator of an active season."NOAA officials say the decrease comes from a decreased likelihood that La Nia will develop and bring its reduced wind shear that further strengthens the hurricane season. They are also taking into account the lack of hurricanes in July and variable winds across the Atlantic."The peak of the hurricane season is almost upon us and it's important to remain prepared for hurricanes through November," said Joe Nimmich, FEMA Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery. "Make sure to review your family emergency plan, check that your emergency kit is stocked and consider insurance options."Hurricane Season in the Atlantic Basin started June 1 and runs until November 30.You can track and prepare for any potential storms by visiting our PinPoint Weather Hurricane Center.