NOAA predicts an above average 2017 Atlantic hurricane season with the potential for as many as 17 named storms and a half a dozen hurricanes. Acting administrator Ben Friedman says they are anticipating a weak or nonexistent El Nino, which typically leads to an above normal season.

“The Atlantic hurricane season will produce a range of 11 to 17 tropical storms. Five to 9 of those storms will become hurricanes,” Friedman said.

Friedman says they predict two to four of those hurricanes will become major hurricanes of category 3 strength or higher. Freidman says when an El Nino is nonexistent, conditions are more conducive for tropical development.

“Near or above average sea surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic and the Caribbean and average or weaker than average vertical wind shear across that same region,” Friedman said.

Friedman says their predictions cover the entire 6 month season in the Atlantic. He says they do not predict when, where, or how these storms might hit and if they will make landfall. He says we can’t prevent hurricanes, but we can prepare.

“It is very important for us to prepare for this season now. The most dangerous part of a storm is not the wind. It’s not the rain. It’s the flooding and the storm surge that occurs afterward, and so we need to be prepared,” Friedman said.