As the peak season for Atlantic hurricanes rolls in, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Wednesday indicated higher likelihood for above-normal activity and increased the number of expected named storms and major hurricanes.
Franklin, the sixth storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, was carrying maximum sustained winds near 70 miles per hour (110kmph) earlier today.
A risky storm surge could also raise water levels by as much as 6 feet along the coast and to the north of where the hurricane’s center will make landfall, the advisory said.
There may very well be more to come.
The late Colorado State University meteorologist William Gray was the first scientist to make seasonal hurricane forecasts back in the 1980s. The center of Franklin is expected to cross the coast in Veracruz, Mexico tonight or early Thursday.
NOAA is now predicting 14-19 named storms, up from the 11-17 that were predicted in May. The statistical peak of the season is September 10. That means less wind shear across the Atlantic to disrupt potential storms. This forecast is calling for more tropical activity than the one issued before the season.
“There is high confidence that these conducive conditions will persist”, Bell said. The prediction of five to nine hurricanes remains unchanged. They also warned that storm surge could reach up to 6 feet near landfall and to the north.
While forecasters initially believed an El Nino would form this year, they subsequently lowered the odds. Satellite images show Franklin strengthening as its center moves towards Mexico’s east coast. Whether it will develop into tropical storm or a hurricane, how strong it might get and its likely path are all still uncertain.
This is now the longest period in recorded weather history without a Category 3 or stronger hurricane making landfall in the United States.
Flooding rain swamped parts of the Yucatan Peninsula Tuesday.
Authorities have prepared over 3,200 shelters and deployed 8,100 troops in three Mexican states to prepare for the arrival of Franklin, which turned into a Category 1 Hurricane on Wednesday. Major hurricanes have already increased in the Atlantic since 1970.