The Atlantic hurricane season will probably end with an above-average 14 to 19 named storms that can rattle energy and agriculture markets now that it is almost certain a system-deterring Pacific El Nino won’t arrive. At least 5 to 9 will become hurricanes with 2 to 5 becoming major systems with winds of 111 miles (179 kilometers) per hour or more, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday. Storms are named when their winds reach 39 mph. In May, the agency said 11 to 17 storms would form. “There is a possibility now that the season will be extremely active,” said Gerry Bell, lead hurricane seasonal forecaster at the U.S. Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. “We are now entering the historical peak months of the season. This three month period is when the bulk of hurricanes occur.
El Nino, marked by a warming in the equatorial Pacific, can have a big influence on Atlantic storms. The phenomenon increases wind shear in the smaller ocean, which can tear apart tropical systems. See Also: ‘Erratic’ Summer Weather Pinned on Lack of El-Nino Game Changer The Earth’s most powerful storms can threaten lives, destroy property and move global energy and agricultural markets. An estimated $28.3 trillion worth of homes, businesses and infrastructure is vulnerable to hurricane strikes in the 18 U.S. Atlantic coastal states, according to the Insurance Information Institute in New York. Florida, the world’s largest orange juice producer behind Brazil, is particularly vulnerable to hurricane strikes. And while dangerous winds can threaten life and property, heavy rains form storms can help crops, as was the case with Tropical Storm Emily last month.