Above-normal hurricane season predicted

This satellite image taken Friday, Oct. 2, 2015 at 8:45 a.m. EDT, and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shows Hurricane Joaquin of the Bahamas. The Category 4 storm ripped off roofs, uprooted trees and unleashed heavy flooding as it hurled torrents of rain across the eastern and central Bahamas on Friday, and the U.S. Coast Guard said it was searching for a cargo ship with 33 people aboard that went missing during the storm. (NOAA via AP)

MIAMI (AP) – U.S. government forecasters expect warm ocean waters will fuel an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast calls for 11 to 17 named storms, with five to nine hurricanes. Two to four hurricanes could be “major” with sustained winds of at least 111 mph.

Acting NOAA Administrator Ben Friedman says atmospheric conditions suppressing hurricane development could be weak or non-existent this year over the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

The six-month Atlantic storm season officially starts June 1. A rare April tropical storm formed this year over the open ocean.

National Weather Service Deputy Director Mary Erickson says high-resolution hurricane model upgrades should provide “much improved” forecast guidance this year.

Friedman says a new weather satellite will help forecasters see developing storms in greater detail.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

5/25/2017 12:41:15 PM (GMT -4:00)

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