NOAA Hurricane Forecast Anticipates More Than Average Storm Systems for Upcoming Season

With the recent destruction caused by the tornado that hit Moore, OK, weather forecasters and meteorologists are warning that this season's summer storm cycle could be higher in intensity than in past years.

Just over six months since Superstorm Sandy hit the eastern seaborne, U.S. forecasters are warning residents in the region to prepare for "an extremely active" 2013 hurricane season.

Computer models show that there is a "70 percent likelihood" that this season will see up to six major hurricanes with sustained winds above 111 mph, according to the 2013 hurricane outlook published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center on Thursday.

The half year hurricane season, which officially begins June 1, is forecasted to produce between 13 to 20 named storms, those being storms with sustained winds of 39 mph or higher. Of those storms up to 11 could become hurricanes with sustained winds of 74 mph or higher.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the average number of storms in a season, that officially ends on Nov. 30, is 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

The 2012 hurricane season produced 19 named storms, including 10 hurricanes and two major hurricanes. That season had an above average number of named storms, but the number of major hurricanes was below the forecasted average.

There are several factors that forecasters attribute to the increase in storm systems and their intensity, but the most widely cited reason for this increase is warmer tropical air, in addition to warmer than average sea surface temperatures. The warm sea water acts as the fuel that feeds large storm systems that develop off the west coast of Africa.

"Take time to refresh your hurricane preparedness plan," Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA acting administrator, said during a news conference in College Park, Md., on Thursday. "Bottom line is become weather-ready now-that means starting today."