NOAA predicts a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season, Census offers related facts for features
Conditions in the atmosphere and the ocean favor a near-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin this season, Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  announced last week  from Miami at its Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and home to the Hurricane Research Division.
For the entire six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says there’s a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms (with top winds of 39 mph or higher), of which four to eight will strengthen to a hurricane (with top winds of 74 mph or higher) and of those one to three will become major hurricanes (with top winds of 111 mph or higher, ranking Category 3, 4 or 5). Based on the period 1981-2010, an average season produces 12 named storms with six hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
Hurricanes by the Numbers
Commerce's U.S. Census Bureau  produces timely local statistics  that are critical to emergency planning, preparedness and recovery efforts. This edition of Facts for Features highlights the number of people living in areas that could be most affected by these dramatic acts of nature, and more.
- 37.3 million: Population as of July 1, 2011, of the coastal portion of states stretching from North Carolina to Texas—the areas most threatened by Atlantic hurricanes. Approximately 12 percent of the nation’s population live in these areas;
- 7: The number of hurricanes during the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, four of them Category 3-strength or higher. Irene was the only hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. and one of the most costly and devastating;
- 3: Top states for hurricane impacts from 1851-2011—Florida (114), Texas (64), Louisiana (57);
- 1992: Hurricane Andrew made landfall in Florida on Aug. 24, destroying a large swath of South Florida, most notably the city of Homestead. Andrew was the second-costliest tropical cyclone in U.S history and killed 23 in the U.S.