The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted Thursday that the 2017 hurricane season in the eastern Pacific stands a good chance of being above normal.
The federal agency, of which the National Weather Service is a part, predicted an 80 percent chance of a near- or above-normal season in both the eastern and central Pacific regions.
The outlook in the eastern Pacific, closest to California, calls for a 70 percent probability of 14 to 20 named storms, of which 6 to 11 are expected to become hurricanes, including 3 to 7 major hurricanes.
“This outlook reflects the possible transition to a weak El Nino during the hurricane season, along with near- or above-average ocean temperatures in the main hurricane formation region, and near- or weaker-than-average vertical wind shear in that area,” said Gerry Bell, NOAA’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster.
“If El Nino develops, it may become strong enough to produce an above-normal season,” Bell added.
Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs until November 30.
NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu continuously monitors weather conditions, employing a network of satellites, land- and ocean-based sensors and aircraft reconnaissance missions operated by NOAA and its partners.