The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has raised its predictions for the 2012 hurricane season. NOAA now calls for a near- or above-normal Atlantic hurricane season – predicting 12 to 17 named storms including five to eight hurricanes – of which two to three could classify as major hurricanes. Dr. Gerry Bell at the Climate Prediction Center says the change is a result of storm-conducive wind patterns and warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures in place in the Atlantic. This new prediction might give hope to some drought-stricken areas. While hurricanes wreak havoc along the coasts – they often continue to move through the country in a weakened state – bringing rain to areas in their paths. In some cases – hurricanes can dump inches upon inches of rain as they trek inland.
The NOAA seasonal climate forecasters also say El Niño will likely develop this month or in September. That can suppress storm development – but isn’t expected to have an influence until later in the season – which started June 1 and continues through the end of November.