Active 2013 hurricane season predicted

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration May 23 released its 2013 Atlantic Basin hurricane season predictions.

The 2013 hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

NOAA is predicting another active season, reporting a 70-percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms. A storm receives a name when winds reach a sustained level of 39 mph or higher.

NOAA predicts seven to 11 storms will reach hurricane strength with sustained winds of 74 mph or higher and three to six major hurricanes. NOAA classifies a major storm as a category 3 or higher or a storm with sustained winds of 111 mph or higher.

The season average is 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major storms.

NOAA reports three climate factors that maintain control over Atlantic hurricane activity are expected to come together to produce an active or extremely active 2013 hurricane season.

According to the NOAA website, a strong west African monsoon season will continue its activity that has produced higher-than-average hurricane seasons since 1995.

Warmer-than-average water temperatures and a lack of El Nino, which helps to suppress hurricane formation are all factors in NOAA’s prediction.

NOAA reports improvements to local forecast models and data gathering capability this year. In July, NOAA will bring online a new supercomputer capable of providing significantly enhanced depiction of storm structure and improved storm intensity forecast guidance.

NOAA reminds the public that May 26 began Hurricane Preparedness week.

As part of the focus, it is important to remember a storm of any strength can be dangerous, as proven by Superstorm Sandy in the northeast and Tropical Storm Debby, which hit the island during the 2012 hurricane season.

NOAA advises completing necessary preparations before a storm is forecasted and heed all warnings from emergency management personnel.

With an active season beginning this week, “Everyone at NOAA is committed to providing life-saving forecasts in the face of these storms and ensuring Americans are prepared and ready ahead of time,” wrote Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA acting administrator on the NOAA website.

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