Coming hurricane season looks grim: NOAA
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The approaching 2008 Atlantic hurricane season is likely to be above normal, with up to 16 named storms and up to five major hurricanes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday, citing climate conditions.
The outlook issued by the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center calls for "considerable activity," with a 65 percent probability of an above-normal season, and an overall 90 percent chance the season will be normal or above, the agency said in a news release.
A "normal" season has 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity.
For 2008, NOAA said, there is a 60 to 70 percent chance of 12 to 16 named storms.
"The outlook is a general guide to the overall seasonal hurricane activity," said Conrad Lautenbacher, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and a NOAA administrator, in the news release. "It does not predict whether, where or when any of these storms may hit land. That is the job of the National Hurricane Center after a storm forms."
The NOAA's outlook falls in line with predictions issued by the noted Colorado State University hurricane forecasting team.
In a forecast issued April 9, the CSU team predicted 15 named storms, an increase from its December number of 13. Of those, it predicted, eight will become hurricanes and four will grow into major hurricanes.
The team calculated a 69 percent chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. coast. In addition, the team said, there is an above-average major hurricane landfall risk in the Caribbean.
The predictions came after calmer-than-normal seasons of 2006 and 2007.
The NOAA said its outlook will be updated August 7.