Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C. -- Weather experts are predicting for an above-normal 2016 hurricane season with at least 14 named storms forecast for the Atlantic basin. Of the 14, eight are predicted to become hurricanes and four are predicted to become major hurricanes. Three U.S. named storms are likely to make landfall.
The Atlantic hurricane season started on June 1 and runs until Nov. 30. So far this season the Lowcountry has experienced two storms, Bonnie and the latest to affect the area, Colin.
Due to a combination of factors, this season is expected to be more active than any season in the past three years and experts warn that those living along the Atlantic coast should be on alert, according to the AccuWeather website.
According to AccuWeather, meteorologists have been monitoring the possibility for the El Niño weather pattern to transition to La Niña for months. The potential transition is a change that would have a significant impact on how active the season becomes. La Niña is characterized by below-normal water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the equator.
Earlier this spring, it was unclear whether or not this transition would occur, but experts say it is now looking more likely. When this occurs, less wind shear is found in the developmental regions of the Atlantic, increasing the potential for a higher-than-normal amount of tropical systems, according to Weather Channel website.
The 2015 Atlantic hurricane season yielded 11 named storms in total, of which four became hurricanes and two became major hurricanes, according to the AccuWeather website. Historical data also indicates that seasons which are active during the months of May, June and July have a higher likelihood of becoming a normal or above-normal season.
Meteorologists are monitoring the northwestern Caribbean and eastern Gulf of Mexico for potential development in the upcoming weeks, according to the Weather Channel website. However, even a weak tropical storm hitting the U.S. can cause major impacts, particularly if it moves slowly, resulting in flooding rainfall, according to the Weather Channel website.
Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management Division encourages residents to make sure homes and lives are ready for a natural disaster.
For more Hurricane Safety Information, visit weather.gov/hurricanesafety.