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NOAA Predicts 'Near-Normal' Hurricane Season

Hurricane Joaquin reaches a Category 4 strength near the Central Bahamas on Oct. 1, 2015.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a “near-normal” hurricane season this year – which began today. The season runs through Nov. 30 and state officials are urging Texans to prepare now – don’t wait.

That characterization of “near–normal” hinges on “forecast uncertainty in the climate signals that influence the formation of Atlantic storms,” meaning the signals aren’t clear making the season difficult to predict.

That said, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting a 70 percent chance of 10 to 16 named storms. A storm must have winds that reach 39 miles per hour or higher to be named. Of those named storms, 4 to 8 could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher.


Just before the official start of the season today, the Atlantic has already seen Hurricane Alex in January and Tropical Storm Bonnie, which made landfall just three days ago.


“This is a more challenging hurricane season outlook than most because it’s difficult to determine whether there will be reinforcing or competing climate influences on tropical storm development,” says Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. "However, a near-normal prediction for this season suggests we could see more hurricane activity than we’ve seen in the last three years, which were below normal.”

NOAA officials also noted that El Niño is dissipating. They are forecasting  a 70 percent chance that La Niña, which favors more hurricane activity, will be present during the peak months of hurricane season, August through October. NOAA plans to offer and updated outlook in early August.

State officials want Texans to know landfall is not needed for tropical storms and hurricanes to bring heavy rains, strong winds and even damaging flood waters.

“Many of our communities have already been impacted by severe weather events this year,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott says in a statement.  “As we enter the 2016 hurricane season, I urge residents to start preparing now for these possible storms – if they have not done so yet – and to make it a practice to monitor weather conditions and to heed directives from their local officials.”

DPS Director Steven McCraw says its critical for family’s to have a plan in place and to assemble an emergency kit that includes important documents, supplies and food.

“Advance preparation is a critical game-changer in helping protect lives and property, and we urge residents to remind their family, friends and neighbors of this life-saving step,” McGraw says.

To prepare for hurricane or storms you should:

  • Prepare and emergency kit or a “go” bag that includes important documents such as birth certificates, as well supplies and food.
  • Review hurricane evacuation maps and choose a route for your family.
  • Plan and discuss how all family members including pets can evacuate safely.
  • Take into consideration any special needs for people with disabilities or the elderly including equipment and medications.
  • Stay informed about the weather.

For more ways to prepare, visit: www.texasprepares.org