NOAA 2000-251
Contact: Frank Lepore


Even though the first half of the Atlantic hurricane season was quiet, experts at NOAA are still calling for slightly above average numbers and intensity of storms during the remainder of the season, according to the updated hurricane season outlook released today.

"The fact there were no storms during the months of June and July is not unusual and has little bearing on the remainder of the season. In fact, September is the peak of Atlantic hurricane activity," said National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield. "What matters is getting the public prepared for the storms that make landfall." Mayfield said that 14 of the last 60 hurricane seasons have had no activity during the months of June and July. The Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1 to November 30.

Analysis by a group of NOAA scientists shows that overall activity should be slightly higher than average due to remaining weak La Niña conditions and the global weather patterns that control conditions over the tropical Atlantic. However, the season will likely not be quite as active as either the 1998 or 1999 season. La Niña is the cooling of sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific. This cooling results in atmospheric conditions over the tropical Atlantic that are conducive to tropical storm development.

An above average Atlantic hurricane season is characterized by at least
two of the following three: a) at least eleven tropical storms, b) seven or more of which typically become hurricanes, and c) three or more of which become major hurricanes (maximum sustained winds over 110 mph, Category 3 on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Scale).

Dr. Chris Landsea of NOAA's Hurricane Research Division reporting for the group noted additional factors suggesting an active season, "the structure and location of the African jet stream is poised to provide energy to developing tropical systems as they move westward from the African coast. Also favorable are low surface air pressure across the Atlantic and Caribbean and a moist unstable atmosphere over the tropical Atlantic."

According to agency scientists, the 2000 season is expected to feature several Cape Verde storms, which move westward from the coast of Africa and pose a significant threat to the Caribbean islands and the coastal United States. The U.S. experiences an average of one-to-two hurricane strikes each year.

The first hurricane of the Atlantic season, Alberto, is expected to continue moving over the North Atlantic and pass well East of Bermuda. Ships at sea should continue monitoring the progress of this storm.

The outlook is prepared by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service (Climate Prediction Center), (Tropical Prediction Center-National Hurricane Center) and Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (Hurricane Research Division).

The complete Atlantic Hurricane August Outlook may be found on the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (Climate Prediction Center) Web site at URL:

Current advisories on individual tropical cyclones are found at the National Hurricane Center Web site

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