Forecasters may not be expecting a severe hurricane season this year, but a few major storms could still threaten the Atlantic coast.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially kicks off Saturday — even after Subtropical Storm Andrea briefly spun up near Bermuda last week — and will run through November 30.
The nation’s top hurricane forecasters have predicted a near-normal season with “a lot” of storms. Nine to 15 named storms, including four to eight hurricanes, could form in the Atlantic.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, said the season won’t likely be as violent as last year’s above-average season when hurricanes Florence and Michael slammed the United States, killing nearly 100 people and causing billions of dollars in damage.
But they are warning that two to four hurricanes could still grow to Category 3 or stronger. Those storms carry winds of 111 to 129 mph.
“That’s still a lot of activity,” said Gerry Bell, NOAA’s lead hurricane forecaster. “We are expecting a near-normal season but regardless, that’s a lot of activity and you still need to prepare for the hurricane season now.”