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NOAA predicts another above-normal hurricane season

A satellite image shows Hurricane Ida approaching land in the Gulf of Mexico on Aug. 29, 2021.
A satellite image shows Hurricane Ida approaching land in the Gulf of Mexico on Aug. 29, 2021.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting 14 to 21 named storms during the upcoming hurricane season, making it the seventh consecutive above-normal year.

NOAA forecasts six to 10 hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher. Three to six of them could be major hurricanes: 111 mph or higher, NOAA said in a forecast Tuesday.

This year would follow the record-setting season of 2021, which brought 21 named storms, the third-most on record. 2021 was the second year in a row that exhausted all 21 names on the storm list.

Hurricane season starts June 1 and continues through November.

Here are the storm names for this year: Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie, Walter.

The increased activity expected this hurricane season is attributed to several climate factors, including the ongoing La Niña that is likely to persist throughout the hurricane season. La Nina is a weather pattern when westerly winds high in the atmosphere weaken, allowing more Atlantic hurricanes to develop.

Other factors include warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds and an enhanced west African monsoon.

An enhanced west African monsoon supports stronger African Easterly Waves, which seed many of the strongest and longest lived hurricanes during most seasons.

NOAA's forecast parallels a closely-followed one by Colorado State University in April. CSU forecast 19 names storms, including nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes.

"We anticipate an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean," the forecast said.

Accuweather forecasts 16 to 20 names storms, with six to eight becoming hurricanes. Three to five are expected to be major hurricanes, and four to six are forecast to directly affect the U.S.

Randy comes to Jacksonville from the South Florida Sun Sentinel, where, as metro editor, he led investigative coverage of the Parkland school shooting that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for public service. He has spent more than 40 years in reporting and editing positions in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and Florida. You can reach Randy at or on Twitter, @rroguski.