Hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin is predicted to be above normal according to the latest bulletin from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service.

In its forecast issued on 8 August, the outlook is for a 70 percent chance of an 'above normal' season across the Atlantic Basin. Hurricane season lasts from June to November 30, but peaks at the end of August until October. NOAA projects a 70 percent chance for each of the following ranges occurring from now on:

  • 13 to 19 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including 
  •  6 to 9 hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which
  •  3 to 5 could be major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph

“Two of the four named storms to-date formed in the deep tropical Atlantic, which historically is an indicator of an active season,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA.

The forecast is more likely to be of more concern to those on land, than superyachts out at sea. Last year’s FLIBS coincided with Hurricane Sandy, the second most costly hurricane in history causing some US$50 billion in damage. No loss of life to crew or incidents on superyachts at sea was recorded during Sandy, however. The only major maritime incident was the tragic sinking of tall ship HMS Bounty, which sank off the coast of North Carolina resulting in the loss of two lives.


HMS Bounty sinking during Hurricane Sandy, 29 October 2012 (picture: US Coast Guard)

Larry Ciprich, currently captaining 50m Queen Aida, explained: “With hurricanes, you just inform yourself and stay out of the zones.”

Last year yielded 19 tropical storms, ten of which, including Sandy, became hurricanes.
The average Atlantic hurricane season yields 12 tropical storms with six hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.