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NCSU researchers predict ‘normal’ hurricane season

April 18, 2017 GMT

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season will be in line with overall averages from 1950 to the present, researchers at North Carolina State University said Tuesday.

Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at N.C. State, predicts 11 to 15 tropical storms and hurricanes forming in the Atlantic basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. The 1950 to 2014 average for named storms is 11.

Four to six of those named storms may grow strong enough to become hurricanes, with the possibility of one to three becoming major hurricanes, he said.

Xie evaluates more than 100 years of historical data on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as variables such as weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures, to predict how many storms will form in each ocean basin.

This year’s numbers for the Gulf of Mexico indicate the likelihood of four to seven named storms, which would be slightly above the average of three named storms, with one to two of the storms becoming a hurricane.

In the Caribbean, two to three tropical cyclones may form, with one to two becoming a hurricane, with one possible major hurricane.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.