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NOAA forecasts near-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, said May 23 that it is predicting a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season for 2019.

The agency forecasts nine to 15 named storms, of which four to eight may become hurricanes. Of those, two to four could become major hurricanes with wind speeds of 111 miles per hour or greater. An average hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, typically sees 12 named storms, of which six are hurricanes and three of those are major hurricanes.

The year's outlook reflects "competing climate factors," NOAA said, with the ongoing El Niño projected to persist and subdue the hurricane season while a combination of warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea along with an enhanced West African monsoon both favor increased hurricane activity.

NOAA projected a 70% chance of above-normal hurricane seasons for the eastern and central Pacific basins. The eastern Pacific may see 15 to 22 named storms, of which eight to 13 hurricanes and four to eight of those are major hurricanes. The central Pacific may see five to eight tropical cyclones, including tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes.

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