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Hurricane season begins Friday

Season ends Nov. 30

Weather forecasters are predicting a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season for the upcoming hurricane season, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The hurricane season lasts from June 1 through Nov. 30.

“With the advances made in hardware and computing over the course of the last year, the ability of NOAA scientists to both predict the path of storms and warn Americans who may find themselves in harm’s way is unprecedented,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The devastating hurricane season of 2017 demonstrated the necessity for prompt and accurate hurricane forecasts.”

The forecasters predicted a 70 percent likelihood of 10-16 named storms with winds of 39 miles per hour or higher this year. Five to nine could become hurricanes with winds of 74 miles per hour or higher, according to NOAA.

On average, a season produces 12 named storms, six of which become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

The possibility of a weak El Nino developing, along with near-average sea surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, are two of the factors driving this outlook, according to NOAA’s website.

These factors are set upon a backdrop of atmospheric and oceanic conditions that are conducive to hurricane development and have been producing stronger Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995.

This year’s Atlantic Tropic Cyclone names include: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sara, Tony, Valerie and William.