Late this morning, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued their initial 2011 Atlantic hurricane season outlook at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland.
For the second year in a row, NOAA predicts that we will see another very active year in the Atlantic Basin with 12-18 named storms, 6-10 of which will become hurricanes, and 3-6 being major hurricanes (category 3 or higher).
The reasoning for forecasting another active year has to do with the weather phenomenon known as La Nina, which looks to persist well into the summer months.
La Nina is associated with cooler than normal temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. History has shown that when we are in a state of La Nina, environmental conditions are more favorable or conducive for tropical storm and hurricane development in the Atlantic Basin.
This is mainly a result of the fact that upper level winds, also known as wind shear, is relatively light and sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean are slightly warmer than normal.
In 2010, we had the third most number of named storms in a given year, and the twelve hurricanes was tied for the second most number of hurricanes in a given season on record. Thankfully, there were no major landfalling hurricanes along the U.S. coastline last year, giving the appearance that it was a quiet year.
Hurricane season gets underway on June 1st and runs through the end of November. You can always get the latest news and tropical updates from our StormTracker weather team this hurricane season.
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