PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Summer-like weather is here, and with the arrival of summer every year comes the beginning of hurricane season. Meteorological summer and the official hurricane season both begin on June 1 — less than two weeks away.
On Thursday, NOAA issued their annual hurricane forecast. Once again, it’s expected to be an above-average season.READ MORE: Crash Involving SEPTA Bus, 4 Vehicles In Philadelphia's Cobbs Creek Neighborhood
On average yearly, we see 14 named storms. Seven strengthen into hurricanes, and of those, three strengthen into major hurricanes.
As meteorologist Lauren Casey reported earlier this week, those averages have been rising. We used to average 12 named storms per year, but after the recent active seasons, that average has been skewed to 14.
NOAA’s forecast this year calls for 13-20 named storms; six to 10 hurricanes; and three to five major hurricanes.
All of these ranges are at or above normal.
So what factors went into preparing this forecast?
First, sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic are running warm. Hurricanes rely on warm ocean water to strengthen, and when sea surface temps are above average, hurricanes strengthen more easily and more rapidly.READ MORE: Woman Facing Arson Charges After Allegedly Intentionally Setting Fire At Howard Johnson Hotel In Blackwood
Secondly, we are expected to remain ENSO-neutral throughout the summer with possibly a weak late-season La Niña. What does that mean? No El Niño. In an El Niño pattern, we often experience higher amounts of wind shear over the Atlantic, which makes it more difficult for hurricanes to form and strengthen. Thus, El Niño years tend to have lower hurricane activity than ENSO-neutral or La Niña.
What does this mean for our area?
Well, in any given year, the chances of New Jersey or Delaware seeing a direct landfall from a hurricane are very small. However, the chances of our area being impacted by a nearby tropical storm or hurricane are much higher, and many homes near the coast are at risk.
In any given year, New Jersey and Delaware have about a 22-23% chance of seeing impacts of a named storm within 50 miles, and roughly a 5-7% chance of feeling hurricane impacts within 50 miles.
A hurricane forecast for this season issued by Colorado State University suggested a slightly higher risk this year for our area, suggesting about a one in three chance of New Jersey and Delaware being impacted by any named storm and roughly a 1 in 10 (8-11%) chance of seeing impacts from a hurricane.
The best thing to do is plan ahead. If you reside or own a home in a coastal zone, have a hurricane plan at the ready at all times and know where you plan to go if you’re evacuated.
A hurricane preparedness kit including things like water, battery-powered radio and a first aid kit is a great idea, and know ahead of time if you’ll need to board windows or sandbag.MORE NEWS: Taste With Tori: Wake Coffee Roasters' Unique Way Of Selling Coffee Makes All Extra Happy In Morning
As always, the Eyewitness Weather team will be with you throughout hurricane season, providing constant updates and the latest information