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This Hurricane Season Could Be Among The Worst In Decades, NOAA Warns

Satellite view of Hurricane Ian just before striking near Fort Myers in 2022. (NOAA)

By Scott Dance

Warm waters across the tropical Atlantic in May 2005 prompted warnings of an active hurricane season ahead. A record-smashing 28 storms formed, including Hurricane Katrina.

Nearly two decades of global warming later, those late-spring ocean temperatures are cool compared with today’s record-hot waters. Government meteorologists issued a seasonal forecast Thursday that predicts that storms could develop at frequencies and with ferocity comparable to some of the worst seasons in the past 19 years.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast — which calls for 17 to 25 tropical storms, eight to 13 hurricanes and four to seven “major” hurricanes — underscores how dramatically the environment has shifted and increased the risk of destructive weather. The prediction is the most aggressive outlook the agency has ever made ahead of the start of hurricane season.
Adding to storm risks is a natural planetary shift known to make conditions more ripe for tropical Atlantic activity, from a fading El Niño climate pattern to La Niña by the heart of hurricane season. A similar shift occurred in 2005.
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