NOAA forecasts above-average hurricane season, lists COVID-19 protocols

(WSVN) - NOAA has issued its first forecast for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, and it’s expected to be above-average.

The agency released its outlook, Thursday morning.

Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator, said the situation this year will be different due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Today, NOAA is issuing remarks for hurricane season, not with the usual backdrop of hurricane hunter planes,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator. “The current health crisis, including social distancing, are on all of our minds as we take the next steps to stay healthy.”

This year, NOAA anticipates 13 to 19 named storms.

Of those, six to 10 are expected to become hurricanes. Three to six could become a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher).

“NOAA’s outlook for the 2020 hurricane season indicates an above-normal season is most likely, with a possibility of that season being extremely active,” said Jacobs.

Overall, there’s a 60% chance of an above-normal season and only a 10% chance of it being below-normal.

NOAA also provided guidance for added COVID-19 concerns during hurricane season.

“The public taking steps now to prepare is the best way to increase communities preparedness,” said Carlos Castillo, acting deputy administrator for resilience at FEMA.

Social distancing has created lines outside of stores, and as a storm approaches, the ability to get supplies will not be as easy as it has been in the past.

“If you must go to a shelter, remember to follow the latest guidelines from [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] for protecting yourself and family from COVID-19,” said Castillo. “Be prepared to take soap, hand sanitizer and wipes or general cleaning supplies to clean surfaces you may touch regularly. Maintain at least six feet between you and those not in your immediate family while in the shelter, while avoiding crowds or gathering as groups as much as possible.”

In Miami-Dade and Broward counties, officials have confirmed they are working with schools and shelters, and should residents have to evacuate, more space will be allocated to allow for social distancing when possible.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.

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