NOAA to update Atlantic hurricane season outlook


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plans to update the outlook for this year's Atlantic hurricane season Thursday.

Back in June, NOAA predicted a normal to above-average season, forecasting 10 to 16 named storms. Between five and nine of those could become hurricanes and one to four could become "major" hurricanes, which means Category-3 strength or greater.

But the first named storm in 2018 formed before the June 1 start of the season. Subtropical Storm Alberto pushed through the gulf and made landfall in the Florida panhandle on Memorial Day. The Lowcountry felt its impacts in the form of rain from the storm's outer bands.

Beryl, which initially formed on July 5, was the first named storm to appear after the season had officially begun. It eventually became a hurricane.

The third named storm of the season, Chris, formed the day after Beryl, on July 6 off the North Carolina coast and meandered before becoming a hurricane. But the storm stayed out at sea. 

The National Hurricane Center says the month of July was above-average, because only one named storm typically forms in the basin in July, with a hurricane forming once every other year.

Tropical Storm Debby formed on Tuesday and is expected to dissipate in the North Atlantic without posing any threat to land.

In 2017, there were 17 named storms including Harvey, Irma and Maria, and was the fifth-most-active hurricane season since record-keeping began in 1851. It was the most-active season since 2012, meteorologists said.

Following on the heels of Hurricane Matthew in 2016, the big storm for the Lowcountry was Hurricane Irma. It made landfall in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane and on Marco Island, Florida as a Category 3 storm. The hurricane moved northward through Florida into Georgia bringing significant impacts to the Lowcountry as it began to weaken.

The most significant damage that occurred in the Lowcountry was caused by a significant inundation of water because of a storm surge that measured 9.92 feet in the Charleston Harbor. That was the third-highest level ever recorded. Significant beach erosion occurred at most area beaches and significant damage occurred to personal property due to the inundation of saltwater flooding into homes and damage to docks.

Hurricane season officially ends Nov. 30.

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