Hurricane center increases forecast for number of potential hurricanes

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The National Hurricane Center has updated its forecast for the year and says that the number of potential hurricanes has gone up.

Despite severe weather across much of the country, the tropics have been quiet so far this year. Both an El Nino, and dust from Africa, have made it hard for hurricanes to develop, according to meteorologists.

“So the dust warming the upper atmosphere actually stabilizes the atmosphere,” says state climatologist Dr. David Robinson. “When you move that dust away, it opens the door for a more favorable development environment.”

Robinson says that an El Nino typically will send wind over Central America and into the Atlantic Basin.

“That doesn’t allow storms to develop as readily,” he says.

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Forecasters say that there have been signs that the El Nino is breaking down over the past two weeks. The dust is also forecasted to diminish. They say that adding this to above-average ocean temperatures could lead to more potential hurricanes.

“It’s the ocean temperatures that provide the fuel for these storms, so any change in those could have an influence on the size, strength, and number of storms out there,” says Robinson.

The update to the forecast now calls for 15 named storms, as opposed to 11. Peak hurricane season is about three weeks away.

What does this mean for New Jersey?

"When you have a few extra storms that raises the chance that one of them might make it up here,” Robinson says.

But Robinson says that there is no certainty where or when the next hurricane could develop.

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