Atlantic Hurricane Season Underway, Above Normal Season Expected

The Atlantic Hurricane season began Thursday and officially runs to Nov. 30.

The forecast for the upcoming season, which peaks in August and September, is suggesting a higher than normal number of storms this year. (The Eastern Pacific hurricane season began May 15th and is already off to an active start).

The Atlantic hurricane forecast from NOAA is highlighting a 70 percent chance of 11 to 17 named storms, including the possibility of two to four major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or higher).

Early signs of an active season are already evident. In fact, we already had our first named storm in April, Tropical Storm Arlene, which did not make landfall. It is extremely rare for storms to form that early.

If the forecast from NOAA holds true, it looks like we will at least have a storm named "Katia" or perhaps even "Rina." Is your name on the list?

Part of the reasoning for an active season can be attributed to weak or non-existent El Niño. When El Niño is in place, it typically counteracts strong Atlantic hurricanes due to wind shear and unfavorable conditions.

An active tropical season wouldn't necessarily be all bad news for North Texas, though. Barring a major storm or hurricane along the coast, a good tropical soaking coming up from the Gulf of Mexico would be welcome news for North Texas (without flooding, of course). Things have dried out recently, to the point that parts of North Texas are back in the "moderate" drought category.

Time will tell if Texas benefits from any rainy weather connected to the Atlantic hurricane season. We certainly don't wish any major storms on anyone, but that's a real possibility though with this year's forecast.

The last hurricane to make landfall in Texas was Hurricane Ike back in 2008 in Galveston.

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