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The Incoming Hurricane Season Is Shaping to Break More Records, Scientists Warn

Prepare for some dark and stormy nights (and days).

This year's Atlantic hurricane season, which begins June 1 and lasts until November 30, will bring another wave of higher- than-average storm formation, following in the footsteps of 2020's record-shattering season, according to the latest forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

On Thursday (May 20), NOAA scientists predicted that we are most likely to see "above normal" hurricane activity, with a 70 percent probability of 13 to 20 named storms. Of those, six to 10 will become hurricanes and as many as five could strengthen into major hurricanes, with winds reaching at least 179 km/h (111 mph).

Better technology for storm detection and for understanding storm structure has also led NOAA experts to recalibrate their standards for what an "average" hurricane season looks like - and that average is now higher than it used to be, according to Matthew Rosencrans, hurricane season outlook lead for NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

Related: Hurricane season: How long It lasts and what to expect

Previously, based on data from 1981 to 2010, 12 named storms was the average per season, with six storms becoming hurricanes and three classified as major hurricanes - those reaching Category 3, 4 or 5 in strength.

But from now on, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) will look at storm activity using a dataset from a new 30-year period: 1991 to 2020.

The new average number of storms is 14, with seven of those expected to become hurricanes, Rosencrans said at the NOAA briefing. (The average number of major hurricanes - three - remains the same.)

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