VIDEO: Hurricane Season Activity Expected To Pick Up, Could Be Strongest Since 2012

By  //  August 12, 2016

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ABOVE VIDEO: CNN’s Jennifer Gray on whether or not you should take that Caribbean vacation during hurricane season. The answer may surprise you.

(CNN) – Even as the United States’ “major hurricane drought” continues, NOAA’s updated 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, which was released Thursday, is calling for this year to be the “strongest since 2012.”

The decision to increase the number of expected named storms, from 10-16 in the outlook released in late May, to 12-17 in the latest outlook, isn’t entirely unexpected.

The update comes about 40% through the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, and the activity has been above average to date with five named storms, of which two have become hurricanes.

On average the Atlantic would not have five named storms until the end of August, and we would not normally see the second hurricane until August 28 (Earl became the second hurricane on August 3).

But it is not just the early activity that has forecasters thinking the season will be above average.

“We’ve raised the numbers because some conditions now in place are indicative of a more active hurricane season, such as El Niño ending, weaker vertical wind shear and weaker trade winds over the central tropical Atlantic, and a stronger west African monsoon,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.