In its 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook issued today, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an active or extremely active Atlantic hurricane season this year. For the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA's Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook says there is a 70% likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.
Three climate factors that strongly control Atlantic hurricane activity are expected to come together to produce an active or extremely active 2013 hurricane season. These are:
- A continuation of the atmospheric climate pattern, which includes a strong west African monsoon, that is responsible for the ongoing era of high activity for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995; "
- Warmer-than-average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea; and
- El Niño is not expected to develop and suppress hurricane formation.