PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – A "near-normal" 2016 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday.
NOAA's Climate Prediction Center predicts 10 to 16 named storms and four to eight hurricanes. Of those hurricanes, one to four are expected to be Category 3 or higher.
Included in NOAA's outlook is Hurricane Alex, which formed in January in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean.
"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," Dr. Gerry Bell, NOAA's lead seasonal hurricane forecaster, said. "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."
There were 11 named storms and four hurricanes last year, including two major hurricanes.
The average Atlantic hurricane season brings 12 named storms and six hurricanes, three of which are major.
The next named storm would be called Bonnie.