Forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) maintained on Thursday that the US is in for another unusually active hurricane season but downgraded slightly their prediction for its severity.
Matthew Rosencrans, the lead season hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said forecasters are now predicting 14 to 20 named storms, three to five of which are expected to become major hurricanes. NOAA's prediction is for all storms, not just those that will make landfall.
Rosencrans continued to warn that the devastating effects of hurricanes have been expanding beyond damaging winds and dangerous storm surges in coastal areas to include torrential rain and inland flooding far from where the storms make landfall.
"If you are in a region prone to inland flooding, stay tuned to the National Hurricane Center for the latest watches and warnings and be sure to adhere to advice for career local emergency managers during a storm should evacuation be necessary in your area," he said during a call with reporters.
The prediction comes as the US heads into the peak months of the hurricane season, which typically runs from August through October. About 90% of all Atlantic tropical cyclone activity occurs during that period.
NOAA previously predicted a 65% chance of an unusually active hurricane season but downgraded its forecast to 60% even as officials continued to warn residents to be prepared for upcoming storms.
“Communities and families should prepare now for the remainder of what is still expected to be an active hurricane season,” National Weather Service Director Ken Graham said in a statement.
“Ensure that you are ready to take action if a hurricane threatens your area by developing an evacuation plan and gathering hurricane supplies now, before a storm is bearing down on your community.”