HOUSTON – The 2018 hurricane season officially begins in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday, and forecasters expect it to be as busy as last year.
Alberto became the first named storm of the year, remaining a subtropical storm from the time it formed May 25 in the Caribbean Sea. It drifted west then north through the Gulf of Mexico, making landfall in the Florida Panhandle. It moved inland across the eastern U.S. and fell apart near the Great Lakes.
The first storm of the season produced torrential rains, flooding, mudslides and high winds. It is blamed for the deaths of a two-man television crew that was covering the storm in North Carolina.
Meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said last month they are forecasting 10-16 named storms this year. Five to nine of those are forecast to become hurricanes. One to four of the hurricanes are forecast to become major, meaning Category 3 or higher.
Forecasters said the possibility of a weak El Nino and near-average sea surface temperatures are two factors that are driving the outlook.
The government’s forecast is in line with an earlier forecast released by Colorado State University last month. Forecasters there predicted a total of 14 named storms, seven hurricanes an three major hurricanes.
NOAA’s 2018 forecast is very similar to the forecast made before last year’s record-setting hurricane season, but the forecast does not include a prediction of where storms will make landfall.
Harris County officials observed Hurricane Preparedness Week last month and called on residents to review their plans before the season starts.
Hurricane season ends Nov. 30, with the peak usually occurring in September.
Below is a list of the names that will be used during the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season:
There are a lot more resources available to help people prepare for hurricanes in the special Hurricane Headquarters section at click2houston.com/hurricane. Download the KPRC2 Hurricane Tracker app to get real-time information on any storms that develop.