Hurricane season forecast

Hurricane season forecast
image: Tucson News Now

On Friday, NOAA released its hurricane seasonal outlook for the Atlantic and East Pacific.

Tropical activity in the East Pacific can play a huge role in our monsoon in southern Arizona.  Surges of tropical moisture in late August or September can bring multiple inches of rain that still fall within our monsoon rain totals; since the monsoon lasts until September 30th.

The forecast is difficult every year, which is why it's never clear-cut.

East Pacific Hurricane Season
There is a 40% chance of a near-normal season.
There is a 30% chance of an above-normal season.
There is a 30% chance of a below-normal season.

>13-20 named storms (winds 39-73mph).
>6-11 hurricanes (winds 74mph+)
>3-6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5)

Last year was one of the busiest seasons on record for the East Pacific, and it included a record-breaking 9 major hurricanes.  El Nino played a big role in the active year due to the warm waters in the Pacific.

This year, El Nino is fading and La Nina is expected to strengthen in the coming months.  However, the timing and strength of La Nina is difficult to predict.  If La Nina develops, it would likely mean a less active hurricane season in the East Pacific.  On the flip side, it would mean a more active season in the Atlantic.

Atlantic Hurricane Season
There is a 45% chance of a near-normal season
There is a 30% chance of an above-normal season
There is a 25% chance of a below-normal season

>10-16 named storms
>4-8 hurricanes
>1-4 major hurricanes

It's important to understand that the actual number of tropical cyclones does not matter.  It only takes one in a season to cause flood and widespread damage over land.

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