While weather models show that a normal to above-normal Atlantic hurricane season is likely, according to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), student transporters along the U.S. coasts might receive something of a reprieve from last year’s storms.
But then again, they might not. New satellite data released by NOAA on Thursday indicated a 70-percent chance of 10-16 named tropical cyclones with winds of 39 mph or higher, with five to nine of these events becoming category 1-4 hurricanes of 79 mph or higher. As many as four major hurricanes were projected to be category three or higher.
NOAA said the normal- to above-normal outlook is driven by the possibility of a weak El Nino developing, along with near-average sea surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
NOAA added that an average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, with half of those becoming hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
“With the advances made in hardware and computing over the course of the last year, the ability of NOAA scientists to both predict the path of storms and warn Americans who may find themselves in harm’s way, is unprecedented,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The devastating hurricane season of 2017 demonstrated the necessity for prompt and accurate hurricane forecasts.”
Last year’s Harvey, Maria and Irma hurricanes rank as the second, third and fifth costliest hurricanes on record. Combined, they caused nearly $300 million in damages. The storms and resulting floods from Harvey forced the evacuation of thousands of students in and around the Houston area, and closed dozens of schools for weeks, or delayed the start of the new school year.
Meanwhile, much of rural Puerto Rico has yet to recover from electrical outages and plumbing issues caused by Maria.
The 2018 hurricane season extends from June 1 through Nov. 30.