In a satellite image provided by NASA, Hurricane Sandy churns off the East Coast as it moves north on Oct. 28 in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Atlantic hurricane season, just heading into its peak, should be more active than normal, with 13-19 named storms, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in an update Thursday.
The update, which is similar to the preseason forecast, says six to nine hurricanes are expected to form, and three to five of those could be major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher with winds of at least 111 mph.
“Our confidence for an above-normal season is still high because the predicted atmospheric and oceanic conditions that are favorable for storm development have materialized," said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.
NOAA’s statement said the current conditions are similar to those during other active hurricane seasons since 1995.
The Atlantic hurricane season began June 1, and the peak is mid-August through October. There have been four named storms so far this year.
In May, NOAA said to expect 13-20 named storms, with seven to 11 hurricanes, of which three to six would be major. The 30-year average is 12 named storms, with six hurricanes, three of them major.
The last time a major hurricane made landfall in the U.S. was Wilma, in 2005, according to the Associated Press. The seven-year landfall drought is the longest in the U.S. on record, The AP said.
Hurricane Sandy was downgraded to tropical storm status just before it made landfall in New Jersey last October. Sandy caused $50 billion in damage.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting that three to five major hurricanes could strike as peak hurricane season approaches. NOAA's lead seasonal hurricane forecaster Gerry Bell discusses what the new seasonal outlook means for residents along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.