BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - On the eve of the 2015 hurricane season, NOAA just released its forecast. NOAA scientists believe it will likely be below-normal season. But, they stress that's no reason to believe coastal areas will have it easy.
NOAA's expectation is anywhere from six to 11 named storms will churn through the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Between three and six of those storms could become hurricanes, with winds of at least 74 mph. At this point, forecasters believe up to two of those hurricanes will be major storms, with winds of at least 111 mph.
A news release says there's a 70% chance 2015 will be a below-normal season, and just a 10% chance it will be an above-normal season. Other forecasters have shared similar information, expecting fewer storms to form between June and November.
"A below-normal season doesn't mean we're off the hook. As we've seen before, below-normal seasons can still produce catastrophic impacts to communities," said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., referring to the 1992 season in which only seven named storms formed, yet the first was Andrew – a Category 5 Major Hurricane that devastated South Florida.