It could be an above-average hurricane season this year. Or maybe not.
The National Weather Service today predicted an 80 percent chance of near- or above-normal tropical cyclone activity during the Central Pacific hurricane season from June to November.
The 2018 outlook calls for three to six tropical cyclones, with equal 40 percent chances of an above-normal and near-normal season and a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.
A near-normal season has three to five tropical cyclones and an above-normal season would have six or more cyclones, which include tropical depressions, named storms and hurricanes.
At a news conference at the University of Hawaii at Manoa this morning, forecasters said the outlook reflects the El Nino neutral conditions that are forecast for most of the hurricane season, with a possible transition to a weak El Nino during the hurricane season.
If El Nino develops, the activity could be nearer to the higher end of the predicted range, they said.
Last year’s outlook was similar, but the Central Pacific only saw two significant storms, and they didn’t come near the Hawaiian islands.