on May 27, 2018
US weather forecasters predict at least four MAJOR HURRICANES during 2018 season.
US FORECASTERS predict between one and four major hurricanes packing winds of 111 miles per hour (178.6 kph) could develop during the 2018 season, which begins June 1.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Centre said on Thursday it expects the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be near-normal to above-normal in number and intensity of storms.
The NOAA forecast also said about half of the 10 to 16 named storms will be hurricane strength with winds of at least 74 mph (119 kph).
An average Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, three of them major.
Private forecaster Weatherbell Analytics earlier this month revised downward its forecast for named storms in 2018 from between 11 and 15 to nine to 13.
A system was brewing in the southern Gulf on Thursday that has a 70 per cent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone, the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said.
It is expected to bring heavy rain to the southeast United States early next week and could become the first named storm of the year as Alberto.
The news comes after the NHC said a storm depression off the coast of Mexico has a 70 per cent chance of forming by the weekend.
The Miami branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s NHC issued a special tropical weather outlook for the North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.
The special notice warns a front of low pressure has formed over the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and threatens to push north towards Florida.
Forecasters fear the front has an 80 per cent chance of deteriorating into a subtropical or tropical depression this weekend.
There is an additional 40 per cent chance this could happen over the next 48 hours.
Tropical depressions form when areas of low pressure start churning away at speeds of up to 39mph.
If the depression picks up speed and organised winds over 39mph, forecasters will upgrade it to a full-blown tropical cyclone.
The NHC warned: “A broad, stationary surface low-pressure system centred over the southeastern Yucatan Peninsula is gradually becoming better defined.
“Although showers and thunderstorms, along with strong gusty winds, are confined primarily to the adjacent waters of the northwestern Caribbean Sea, gradual development of this system is expected during the next couple of days as it drifts northward near the Yucatan Peninsula.
“Environmental conditions are forecast to become more conducive for development through early next week, and a subtropical or tropical depression is likely to form by late Saturday over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.
“Regardless of development, locally heavy rainfall is forecast across western Cuba and over much of Florida and the northern Gulf Coast into early next week.
“In addition, the threat of rip currents will steadily increase along the Gulf coast from Florida westward to Louisiana over Memorial Day weekend.”
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