Forecasters trim hurricane season outlook a bit, still busy

This hurricane season may be a tad quieter than initially projected, but it is still likely to be busier than normal, government forecasters and others say.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday trimmed their hurricane season outlook from a 65% chance for above normal activity to 60% and increased the odds of a normal season from 25% to 30% because of uneven sea surface temperature, including a patch of cooler water off Portugal. Parts of the Atlantic are warmer than normal, but the variability had forecasters “backing off on the higher end” of their predictions, said lead hurricane outlook forecaster Matthew Rosencrans.

The weather agency now predicts 14 to 20 named storms instead of its May forecast which was 14 to 21. The predicted number of hurricanes remains the same at six to 10 while those storms that hit major category of at least 111 mph are now forecast to be three to five instead of three to six. The forecast includes the three tropical storms that formed in June and early July, about average for this time of year, but quieter than the last few years.