Hurricane season will be more active than usual, NOAA says

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BOSTON (State House News Service) – The Atlantic hurricane season begins next week and meteorologists are predicting the tropics will be more active than normal this year.

Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated Thursday a 45 percent chance of an above-normal hurricane season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season and a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season. A normal, or average, Atlantic season includes 12 named storms (wind speeds of at least 39 mph), six of which become hurricanes (wind speeds of at least 74 mph) and three of which become major ‘canes (categories 3, 4 or 5), according to NOAA’s ‘s Climate Prediction Center.

The meteorologists at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center give the 2017 hurricane season, which stretches through November but peaks in late August, a 70 percent likelihood of generating 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes, and two to four major hurricanes. The 2016 hurricane season was the most active in the Atlantic since 2012, according to NOAA, producing 15 named storms, seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes.

A hurricane has not made landfall in Massachusetts since 1991, when Hurricane Bob blew through the state with winds between 91 and 110 mph and caused almost a billion dollars in damage.

The 2017 hurricane season already has one named storm credited to it: the “a rare pre-season” Tropical Storm Arlene that formed over the eastern Atlantic in April, according to NOAA. The rest of the named storms in 2017 will be given the following names: Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince and Whitney.

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