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US forecasters predict 'above normal' Atlantic hurricane season

A satellite image from September 2019 of Tropical Storm Dorian. US forecasters predict an 'above normal' 2020 Atlantic hurricane season
A satellite image from September 2019 of Tropical Storm Dorian. US forecasters predict an 'above normal' 2020 Atlantic hurricane season Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS NOAA/RAMMB/AFP/File
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Miami (AFP)

US forecasters on Thursday predicted an "above normal" Atlantic hurricane season with three to six storms of Category 3 or higher.

Neil Jacobs, acting administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said there was a 60 percent chance the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season would be "above normal."

There was a 30 percent chance of a "near normal" season and only a 10 percent chance of a "below normal" season, Jacobs told reporters on a conference call.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center forecast 13 to 19 named storms -- those with winds of 39 miles per hour (63 kilometers per hour) or higher.

Six to 10 could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph (119 kph) or higher and three to six could be major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher with winds of 111 mph (179 kph) or higher.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially extends from June 1 to November 30.

Carlos Castillo, acting deputy administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the hurricane season could be particularly challenging this year because of the coronavirus pandemic and urged people living in coastal regions to be prepared.

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