NOAA predicts near- or above-normal 2018 Atlantic hurricane seas - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

NOAA predicts near- or above-normal 2018 Atlantic hurricane season

Experts say the hurricane season will include at least one major hurricane. (Source: Raycom News Network) Experts say the hurricane season will include at least one major hurricane. (Source: Raycom News Network)

(RNN) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released their predictions for the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season on Thursday.

Forecasters said they predict a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season and 40-percent chance or a near-normal season, said NOAA's Dr. Neil Jacobs, assistant secretary of commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction at the agency.

He said the organization predicted 10 to 16 tropical systems, with five to nine becoming hurricanes. One to four of those hurricanes is predicted to develop into major hurricanes of Category 3 strength or above. 

NOAA is currently monitoring the northern Gulf Coast, which could experience its first tropical system of the season in the next five days, the National Hurricane Center said.

NOAA predicted an above average 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season - which delivered with 17 named storms. It was the seventh-most active season since records began in 1851, NOAA said.

The northern Gulf Coast could experience its first tropical system of the season in the next five days, the National Hurricane Center said.

A system near the Yucatan peninsula has a 80-percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone or subtropical system in the next five days as environmental conditions become more conducive for development.

If the steady bands of rain develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm, its name will be Alberto. However, the storm will present more of a rain threat than a wind threat.

Hurricane season officially begins on June 1, but a tropical storm can form before then, just as it did before the past three hurricane seasons.

Atmospheric scientist Michael Lowry said the "A" storm has formed as early as January and as late as August. 

The 2017 hurricane season was brutal.

Nearly all the damage came from three major hurricanes – Harvey, Irma and Maria.

Harvey battered the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Central America. It dumped catastrophic rainfall on the Houston area, causing $125 billion in damage.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria whipped the Caribbean, while Irma cut a path of destruction from St. Martin into Florida.

Maria devastated Puerto Rico and Dominica. It’s considered among worst natural disasters to hit the islands. Large swaths of Puerto Rico are still without power.

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