WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — NOAA announced Thursday morning that the 2018 Hurricane Season will be less active than previously forecast.
The National Hurricane Center has reported four named tropical storms so far this year, including Subtropical Storm Alberto, Hurricane Beryl, Hurricane Chris and, currently, Tropical Storm Debby.
August, September and October are the peak months of the hurricane season but NOAA now predicts below or near normal active season with 9 to 13 named tropical storms with 4 to 7 developing into hurricanes and up to 2 becoming major, possibly none.
“There is a 60-percent chance this season will be below or near normal, 30-percent chance near or above normal and 10-percent chance of being above normal,” NOAA’s Lead Hurricane Forecaster Gerry Bell said.
Bell explained the increased likelihood of the El Nino oscillation onset will likely act to weaken the basin for hurricane development. Cooler sea surface temperatures and stronger vertical wind shear will not support a highly active season.
As of Thursday morning, Tropical Storm Debby is expected to dissipate or weaken into a post-tropical cyclone within the next 12 hours as it continues northeastward over the Gulf Stream.
The next storm name of the season is Ernesto.