NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The lead hurricane forecaster at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center announced an updated outlook for the 2015 hurricane season.
A below-normal season is now even more likely than predicted in May, NOAA predicts.
The Climate Prediction Center now calls for a 90 percent chance of a below-normal hurricane season. The likelihood of a below-normal season was 70 percent in May.
Two tropical storms already have struck the United States this year. Ana made landfall in South Carolina in May, and Bill made landfall in Texas in June.
The 90 percent probability of a below-normal season is the highest confidence level given by NOAA since seasonal hurricane outlooks began in 1998.
The updated outlook also lowers the overall expected storm activity this season. The outlook now includes a 70 percent chance of 6-10 named storms (from 6-11 in the initial May Outlook), of which 1-4 will become hurricanes (from 3-6 in May), and 0-1 will become major hurricanes (from 0-2 in May). These ranges — which include the three named storms to-date (Ana, Bill, and Claudette) — are centered well below the seasonal averages of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
However, forecasters reiterate that it only takes one hurricane to cause devastation.
"Regardless of our call for below-normal storm activity, people along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts should remain prepared and vigilant, especially now that the peak months of the hurricane season have started," said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.