PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - NOAA released their updated hurricane season forecast on Wednesday and they increased their forecast and now think it could be the most active season since 2010.
Forecasters now say there is a 60-percent chance of an above-normal season (compared to the May prediction of 45 percent chance), with 14-19 named storms (increased from the May predicted range of 11-17) and 2-5 major hurricanes (increased from the May predicted range of 2-4). A prediction for 5-9 hurricanes remains unchanged from the initial May outlook.
With our first hurricane forming today, Franklin, we now have 6 named storms. It typically takes until September 8th to get our 6th named storm.
NOAA's rationale for upping their #s... a less likely El Nino, more conducive winds in the Caribbean and Atlantic, and favorite SSTs in the Atlantic.
Despite the high numbers of storms their relative strength has been below average. We are currently at 71% of typical Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) so far.... just 7.8875. A typical season yields an ACE of 104. Last year we hit 140.
The ACE of a season is the sum of the ACEs for each storm and takes into account the number, strength, and duration of all the tropical storms in the season. It is calculated by summing the squares of the estimated maximum sustained velocity of every active tropical storm (wind speed 35 knots (65 km/h) or higher), at six-hour intervals and divided by 10,000.
So, while people tend the focus on how many storms may or may not develop, it is in reality the intensity of those storms and whether they make landfall that really determines how 'active' it really might be for a given location.
In the end we just need to be prepared and hope for the best. As of August 9th... so far so good for Northwest Florida.