SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND — The chances of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season in 2019 have increased now that El Nino is over.
According to the NOAA, El Nino occurs when sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific are warmer than average, and east winds blow weaker than usual.
The agency declared Thursday that El Nino has ended and transitioned into a neutral state, bringing normal water temperatures and atmospheric conditions to the central and eastern Pacific.
El Nino typically suppresses hurricane activity in the Atlantic, so its end could mean a busier hurricane season.
The NOAA says oceanic and atmospheric conditions are now favorable for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.
It is expecting 10 to 17 named storms, 5 to 9 of which will become hurricanes, and two to four major hurricanes with winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.
However, Colorado State University tropical scientist Phil Klotzbach has noted that continuing warmth in the central Pacific over the next few months could prevent winds from becoming too hurricane-favorable in the Atlantic and Caribbean.