Expect Up to 3 Major Hurricanes This Year
Forecast calls for normal year, less severe than recent years
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2012 11:41 AM CDT
Updated May 24, 2012 11:54 AM CDT
The surf pounds the Oceana Pier as Hurricane Earl heads toward the eastern coast in Atlantic Beach in September 2010.   (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

(Newser) – Hurricane forecasters say this looks to be a pretty standard year for the Atlantic, with one to three major hurricanes expected in the six-month season that begins June 1. Some specifics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

  • Expect nine to 15 named storms, meaning winds reach at least 39mph

  • Four to eight will strengthen into hurricanes, with winds at least 74mph
  • Of those, one to three will turn into major hurricanes, reaching categories 3, 4, or 5
  • If El Niño forms by late summer, it would help keep down the number of hurricanes and big storms
  • Agency quote: “NOAA’s outlook predicts a less active season compared to recent years. But regardless of the outlook, it’s vital for anyone living or vacationing in hurricane-prone locations to be prepared. We have a stark reminder this year with the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew.”