Franklin becomes 1st Atlantic hurricane of 2017: What's the outl - - No One Gets You Closer

Franklin becomes 1st Atlantic hurricane of 2017: What's the outlook for the season?


On Wednesday, Franklin became the first Atlantic hurricane of the 2017 season. It's tracking its way toward Mexico's east coast and bares no threat to Texas or Oklahoma, but what can Texomans expect going into the peak of hurricane season? Well on the same day, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, issued the update for its 2017 hurricane season outlook. How convenient.

Dr. Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said on a call with reporters on Wednesday, “The bulk of the hurricane activity forms during August, September, October in the area between Africa and the Yucatan Peninsula.”

The Atlantic hurricane season has already kicked off with a bang this summer with 6 named storms already to date, one of those being hurricane Franklin that is currently stirring up trouble down in Mexico. Bell added, “This season so far, 3 named storms have formed in this Tropical Atlantic/Caribbean Sea region and that reflects that conditions are already setting up to produce a lot of activity."

So all the stars are lining up just right for the possibility of an extremely active episode on the high seas, but how does forecasting for a whole hurricane season differ from just forecasting the thunderstorms we could see this weekend?

Bell said,"In the seasonal outlook we’re not trying to predict a specific storm, when it will form, where it will form, things like that.” And it turns out there’s a couple of dominant climate factors, such as winds and water temperature, that really control the conditions favorable for an active season. Currently, those are in place and with that being said it looks like we could see the most active hurricane season since 2010, which hosted 19 named storms.

“The likelihood of an above normal season has increased to 60 percent," said Bell. "And that’s up from 45 percent in our May forecast.”

NOAA said 14-19 named storms are now likely to form this year, with 5-9 becoming hurricanes, and 2-5 of those becoming major hurricanes.

“You need to know your risks, have a plan, and be prepared," said Bell.

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