Forecasters call for above-average 2017 hurricane season

Updated forecast predicts likelihood of 11-17 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center have updated their outlook for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, saying an above-average season is in store.

The new forecast, released Thursday, calls for a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season and a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.

Forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 11-17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which five to nine could become hurricanes. Two to four of those hurricanes could be a Category 3 or higher.

The numbers include Tropical Storm Arlene, a rare preseason storm that formed in April.

An average season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

"The outlook reflects our expectation of a weak or nonexistent El Nino, near- or above-average sea-surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and average or weaker-than-average vertical wind shear in that same region," Dr. Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

"While I hope this seasonal hurricane outlook gets our attention, we need to remember that it is not all about the numbers," Local 10 News hurricane specialist Max Mayfield said. "It only takes one hurricane over our community to make for a bad year. South Florida residents need to be prepared regardless of what the seasonal outlook says. Also, these outlooks don't tell us where or when the hurricanes will be. It would be wise for us to prepare for this and every hurricane season."

Be sure to download the Local 10 Hurricane Survival Guide to keep you safe before, during and after a storm. 

Remember to stay up to date on the all the latest storm news by downloading the Max Tracker app for iOS and ANDROID.

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