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Weather service increases odds of 'extremely active' Atlantic storm season

Damage to homes and property from Hurricane Dorian is seen at Treasure Cay in the Bahamas on September 9, 2019.  The National Weather Service expects up to 25 named storms during the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI
Damage to homes and property from Hurricane Dorian is seen at Treasure Cay in the Bahamas on September 9, 2019.  The National Weather Service expects up to 25 named storms during the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 6 (UPI) -- The National Weather Service on Thursday revised its predictions for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane center Thursday, saying the region could see up to 25 named storms in an "extremely active" year.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center, a division of NWS, said it expects 19 to 25 named storms this season. Before the start of hurricane season -- June 1 -- the agency predicted 13 to 19 named storms, still an above-normal year.

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Under the revised forecast, the Climate Prediction Center said there will be seven to 11 hurricanes with three to six major hurricanes -- Category 3 or higher.

"This year, we expect more, stronger and longer-lived storms than average, and our predicted ACE [Accumulated Cyclone Energy index] range extends well above NOAA's threshold for an extremely active season," said Gerry Bell, lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA.

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The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has already seen nine named storms and two hurricanes, Hanna and Isaias. Each of the storms set a record for earliest named storm of its letter. Historically, the ninth named storm of the year doesn't develop until October.

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Hurricane season began in June, but the peak of the season typically starts in August. The season ends Nov. 30.

In June, the Climate Prediction Center said a lower chance of an El Niño this year will bump up the chances of an active hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean.

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El Niño conditions mean sea water in the Pacific Ocean is warmer than average, suppressing hurricane activity in the Atlantic. On the other end of the spectrum, La Niña conditions mean colder sea water in the Pacific and increased hurricane activity in the Atlantic.

"This is one of the most active seasonal forecasts that NOAA has produced in its 22-year history of hurricane outlooks," U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said. "We encourage all Americans to do their part by getting prepared, remaining vigilant and being ready to take action when necessary."

Experts at the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project also revised up their season forecast Wednesday, predicting 24 named storms.

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