WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Thursday that the Atlantic hurricane activity is expected to above normal with 5 to 9 hurricanes during the entire 6-month hurricane season, which ends Nov. 30.
Forecasters from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center increased the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season to 45 percent from 30 percent in May, while the chance of below-normal activity dropped to 20 percent.
NOAA forecasted a total of 10 to 17 named storms, of which 5 to 9 may become hurricanes, including 2 to 4 major hurricanes. An average season has 12 named storms with 6 hurricanes.
The Atlantic hurricane season in 2018 was above-average as Hurricanes Florence and Michael hit the United States with devastating casualties.
NOAA also announced that the current El Nino in the Pacific Ocean has ended and neutral conditions have returned.
"El Nino typically suppresses Atlantic hurricane activity but now that it's gone, we could see a busier season ahead," said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.
However, the hurricane season outlook is for overall seasonal activity. It means that not all storms lead to landfalls, which are largely determined by short-term weather patterns. The landfalls can only be predicted within about a week of a storm potentially reaching a coastline, according to NOAA.