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Researchers: East Coast should expect an active hurricane season

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RALEIGH, N.C. – Researchers at North Carolina State University say the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season will be significantly more active than the averages from 1950 to the present.

The 2016 season, which runs from June 1 to November 30 should see 15 to 18 tropical storms and hurricanes forming in the Atlantic basin, which includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, according to Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at N.C. State.

This number is significantly higher than the 1950 to 2014 average of approximately 11 named storms.

Of those named storm, at least eight may grow strong enough to become hurricanes, with five of those having the potential to become major hurricanes.

Xie’s data says numbers for the Gulf of Mexico are more in line with historic averages, indicating that there are likely to be at least two named storms forming with one to three of them becoming a hurricane.

In the Caribbean, two to four tropical cyclones may form, with one to two becoming a hurricane, with the potential for one to become a major hurricane.

Xie’s methodology evaluates more than 100 years of historical data on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as other variables including weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures, to predict how many storms will form in each ocean basin.

N.C. State collaborators on the research include Montserrat Fuentes, professor of statistics; Joseph Guinness, assistant professor of statistics; Marcela Alfaro-Cordoba, graduate research assistant in statistics, and Bin Liu, adjunct assistant professor in marine, earth and atmospheric sciences.