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La Niña May Fuel Most Active Hurricane Season In Years

Hurricane season, which began June 1, runs through Nov. 30. Photo Credit: AccuWeather
La Niña 2016 Photo Credit: National Weather Service

Fueled by the La Niña weather pattern that is expected to develop, experts are calling for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season with 14 named storms forecast through the end of the season Nov. 30.

Atlantic hurricane season began June 1.

Eight of the named storms are predicted to become hurricanes and four are predicted to become major hurricanes, according to AccuWeather.

Due to a combination of factors, this season is expected to be more active than any season in the past three years. Experts warn that those living along the Atlantic Coast should be on alert.

Meteorologists are monitoring the northwestern Caribbean and eastern Gulf of Mexico for potential development this week. Should a storm develop, it will take the name Colin.

For months, meteorologists have been monitoring the possibility for the El Niño weather pattern to transition to a La Niña - a change that would have a significant impact on how active the season becomes.

Earlier this spring, it was unclear whether or not this transition would occur, but experts say it's now looking more likely.

La Niña is characterized by below-normal water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the equator.

When this occurs, less wind shear is found in the developmental regions of the Atlantic, increasing the potential for a higher-than-normal amount of tropical systems.

"There's even more information now strongly suggesting that there's at least a 75 to 80 percent chance that we will go into a La Niña pattern," AccuWeather Atlantic Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.

"Historically, some hurricane seasons that have followed a transition from El Niño to La Niña have been very active. It's possible we could flip from one extreme to the other, from below-normal seasons the past three years to an above-normal year in 2016," he said.

The 2015 Atlantic hurricane season produced 11 named storms in total, of which four became hurricanes and two became major hurricanes.

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