"We're now entering the peak of the season, when the bulk of the storms usually form", Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said in a statement.
"The season has the potential to be extremely active, and could be the most active since 2010", NOAA said. In addition, the forecast now predicts between 14 and 19 named storms, or those with sustained winds of 39 miles per hour (62 km/h), and between two and five major hurricanes with sustained windspeeds of at least 111 miles per hour (178 km/h).
A tropical wave churning across the Atlantic has become better organized and could strengthen over the weekend as it encounters more favorable conditions, National Hurricane Center forecasters said Friday.
Six tropical storms have formed thus far in 2017: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily and Franklin. On average, the Atlantic season will spawn 12 storms.
Also, there is significantly less likelihood that the weather phenomenon known as El Nino will form.
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Bell says warmer than predicted waters in the tropical Atlantic could help fuel more storms, as well. The agency's expected number of five to nine hurricanes overall is unchanged. Schools are frequently used as storm shelters in Mexico.
Now a tropical storm, Franklin is predicted to reach hurricane strength later Wednesday or early Thursday when it makes landfall in Mexico.
Forecasters said hurricane-force winds extended up to 35 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extended up to 150 miles. This year, they initially predicted between 11 and 17 named storms and between two and four major hurricanes, and about even odds for an average and above-average season.
A hurricane warning was in effect for the coast from Veracruz city north to Cabo Rojo.