Local May 27, 2016 | 4:12 pm

Hurricane season 2016: As many as 16 named storms

Miami.- A near-normal Atlantic hurricane seasonis expect, after three relatively slow years, according to U. S. governmentforecasters. But they also say climate conditions that influence stormdevelopment are making it difficult to predict how many hurricanes and tropicalstorms will arise over the next six months.

The NationalOceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s outlook Friday called for anear-normal season with 10 to 16 named storms, with four to eight hurricanesand one to four "major" ones with winds reaching 111 mph (177 KM) andup.

Thelong-term season averages are 12 named storms, with six hurricanes and threemajor ones.

The Atlantichurricane season officially starts June 1, but tropical weather got ahead-start this year: Hurricane Alex made an unseasonable debut in January overthe far eastern Atlantic.

The NationalHurricane Center says an area of low pressure between Bermuda and the Bahamashad a high chance of brewing into something bigger Friday or Saturday.

Hurricanehunter aircraft will investigate the disturbance Friday, and communities alongthe coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas should monitor its development, saidNOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan.

Forecastchallenges

While theycan’t predict whether any storm will strike any given region and more tropicalstorms are expected than in the last three years, NOAA officials saidsignificant variables are at play.

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