Forecast: “Below Normal” Hurricane Season Expected

But El Niño adds an element of uncertainty.
Hurricane Sandy left ruins behind along the New Jersey coast. This hurricane season is expected to produce fewer storms.

Hurricane Sandy left ruins behind along the New Jersey coast. This hurricane season is expected to produce fewer storms.

The federal government’s forecasters are predicting a “below-normal” hurricane season this year, officials said Tuesday.

“NOAA’s 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook indicates that a below-normal hurricane season is most likely this year,” the agency said in a release. “The main climate factor expected to suppress this hurricane season is El Niño, which is now present and is expected to last through the hurricane season.”

What does a “below-normal” season look like?

• 6-11 Named Storms, which includes TS Ana that formed in May
• 3-6 Hurricanes
• 0-2 Major Hurricanes
• Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) range of 40%-85% of the median

NOAA says: “These expected ranges are centered below the official NHC 1981-2010 seasonal averages of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.”

The gist? There will be fewer storms this year, and the ones that become significant are still expected to be weaker.

Thanks, El Niño!