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Brace Yourselves, We Are Approaching The Peak of The Hurricane Season

Aug 24, 2016 08:02 AM EDT

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has just updated the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook, and is expecting this season to be the most active since 2012, the year Superstorm Sandy hit the U.S.

NOAA calls for a higher likelihood of a near-normal or above-normal season, and decreases the chance of a below-normal season to only 15 percent, from the initial outlook issued in May, NOAA officials said.

According to forecasters, there is a 70 percent chance of 12 to 17 named storms, five to eight of which are expected to become hurricanes, including two to four that are major hurricanes. The averages per season are 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

"We've raised the numbers because some conditions now in place are indicative of a more active hurricane season, such as El Niño ending, weaker vertical wind shear and weaker trade winds over the central tropical Atlantic, and a stronger west African monsoon," Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said in a statement.

"However, less conducive ocean temperature patterns in both the Atlantic and eastern subtropical North Pacific, combined with stronger wind shear and sinking motion in the atmosphere over the Caribbean Sea, are expected to prevent the season from becoming extremely active."

The storm lineup for 2016 includes Alex (hurricane), Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl (hurricane), Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Matthew, Nicole, Otto, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie and Walter. Four of these have already made landfall: Bonnie (South Carolina), Colin (western Florida), Danielle (eastern Mexico) and Earl (Belize and Mexico).

Although the Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, the country is just about to enter the peak of the season or the "season within the season," which is the eight-week period that is considered the most active and dangerous time for tropical cyclone activity, NOAA said in a report.

According to NOAA officials, activity spikes from mid-August through mid-October, which is already 78 percent of the tropical storm days, 87 percent of the category 1 and 2 hurricane days and 96 percent of the major hurricane (category 3, 4 and 5) days.

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