The Atlantic basin will see the most named storms since the 2012 season, the year Sandy crippled the U.S. East Coast, with five to eight of those strengthening into hurricanes by Nov. 30, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
There will be 12 to 17 named storms with winds of at least 39 miles (63 kilometers) per hour in the tropical Atlantic, according to an updated forecast released Thursday. Two to four storms could grow into major hurricanes with winds of at least 111 miles per hour.
Atlantic storms can threaten the Gulf of Mexico, where about 5 percent of the U.S. marketed natural gas production is produced along with 17 percent of crude oil, according to the Energy Information Administration. The Gulf region also is home to more than 45 percent of petroleum refining capacity and 51 percent of gas processing.
Florida, a frequent target of storms, is the world’s second-largest orange-juice producer, behind Brazil, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. More than 6.6 million homes with an estimated reconstruction cost of $1.5 trillion lie in vulnerable areas along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, according to the Insurance Information Institute in New York.
In June, NOAA predicted 10 to 16 named storms, with four to eight becoming hurricanes. There were 19 named storms in 2012.
Five storms have developed in the Atlantic this year, including Alex, the first January hurricane in the basin since 1938.
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