June 1st will kick off the 2016 hurricane season here in the United States. Experts expect this to be the most active hurricane season since 2012 (tied for third most active season on record) when there were a total of 19 named storms, including the devastating Hurricane Sandy, in late October of that year.
There is an expectation of 14 named storms including three major hurricanes are expected. A major hurricane is considered to be that of category 3 or stronger. Although the official hurricane season is from June through November, the predictions for 2016 include Hurricane Alex, which occurred in January of this year, making landfall in the Azores in Bermuda. The more recent Tropical Storm Bonnie, which made landfall just outside of Charleston, South Carolina in late May.
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Though there are a higher than normal of named storms expected for 2016, this does not necessarily translate into a higher risk of risk to residents in hurricane-prone areas or damage to property. The number of storms is an estimated based on the total number of storms expected regardless of whether they make landfall or not. A large number of storms predicted has little impact on any damage that might be predicted as a result of these storms. The U.S. average of landfalls according to NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division is 1 to 2 per season.
El Nino could have an impact on this hurricane season as it is expected to transition to La Nina towards the middle of the hurricane season. This could mean a quieter first half to the hurricane season with the latter half becoming more active. El Nino is associated with a warming of the central and eastern Pacific, while La Nina has the opposite impact on these same areas. The warming and cooling of the water in these areas has a significant impact on whether trends on a global scale.