2017 Hurricane Seasonal Predictions for the Atlantic, Caribbean and Dominican Republic

2017 Hurricane ForecastThe 2017 hurricane season for the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean

2017: What the Experts are Saying

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season will be less active than a year ago, with the number of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes. A major hurricane is one that is Category 3 or stronger on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

The outlook cited that the potential development of El Niño later this summer along with current and forecast sea-surface temperature anomalies played a role in their forecast for a near-average season.

But there remains plenty of uncertainty regarding El Niño's possible development, and therefore, how much of an effect it could have on the hurricane season.

The official Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. Occasionally storms can form outside those months as happened last season with January's Hurricane Alex and late May's Tropical Storm Bonnie.

El Niño could return at some point during the 2017 hurricane season, but there remains plenty of uncertainty regarding that.

This periodic warming of the central and eastern equatorial waters of the Pacific Ocean tends to produce areas of stronger wind shear (the change in wind speed with height) and sinking air in parts of the Atlantic Basin that is hostile to either the development or maintenance of tropical cyclones.

NOAA put the odds of El Niño's development at 50 percent during August-December, according to their latest update.

The most recent El Niño strengthened quickly during the 2015 season, which featured 11 named storms, 4 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. Hurricane Joaquin's prolonged pummeling of the Bahamas was the most notable hurricane that season.

Strong wind shear near the Caribbean Sea and other parts of the Atlantic Basin contributed to the eventual demise of five named storms during the heart of the 2015 season.

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