NOAA ups 2017 hurricane season forecast

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There’s now a 60 percent chance of an above normal hurricane season, NOAA said Wednesday. (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA issued its updated hurricane season forecast Wednesday, calling for up to 19 named storms, nine hurricanes and five major hurricanes. That’s up from a maximum 17 named storms forecast in May.

If disturbance 99L develops east the Bahamas as some forecasts suggest, and becomes Tropical Storm Gert, that would mean up to 12 storms could form before the season ends November 30. It would take us all the way up to Tropical Storm Tammy.

Franklin has been the only hurricane so far so that would leave as many as eight yet to come, based on the high-end of the new NOAA forecast. Franklin made landfall overnight in the State of Veracruz in Mexico as a Category 1.

An average season has 12 named storms.

“We’re now entering the peak of the season when the bulk of the storms usually form,” Gerry Bell, NOAA’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster said. “The wind and air patterns in the area of the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean where many storms develop are very conducive to an above-normal season. This is in part because the chance of an El Niño forming, which tends to prevent storms from strengthening, has dropped significantly from May.”

Interestingly, Thursday’s early run of the GFS showed no tropical development in the Atlantic through at least August 26, a week before Labor Day weekend. The European (ECMWF) shows an all-clear through at least August 20, and the CMC is the only major model holding on to 99L — taking it harmlessly out to sea — with nothing of note after that over the next 10 days.

The Navy’s model, NAVGEM, dropoed 99L and the National Hurricane Center lowered chances of development for the system in its morning tropical weather outlook from 50 percent to 40 percent.

A low pressure system moving into South Florida from the Bahamas Thursday was forecast to dump heavy rain on the southern peninsula, but it looks to be a one-day event, according to the National Weather Service in Miami. And precipitation should drop off toward the north, with the bulk of it over South Florida and the Keys.

August has been a relatively dry month, so far, up and down the peninsula. Jacksonville is ahead on rainfall for the month, but most of the East Coast cities from Daytona Beach to Miami have rainfall deficits of up to 1.5 inches, and the Keys have built up a shortfall as well. Through Wednesday, Marathon had only recorded 0.02 of an inch of rain all month.

Most of the West Coast is short of normal rainfall as well, Tampa and Naples being exceptions.

RECORD WATCH: Miami booked a record warm low temperature Wednesday with 83, beating the previous mark of 82 set in 2009. Record warm lows were tied in Fort Lauderdale (83); and West Palm Beach (83).