WASHINGTON (WAVY) — The Atlantic could see an “above-normal” hurricane season in 2017, with as many as 17 named storms and nine hurricanes, according to predictions from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasters.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released its predictions Thursday, saying there is 45 percent chance of an above-normal season and a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.
Forecasters are predicting a 70 percent likelihood for 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine of which could be come hurricane — and two to four could be major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher.
The 2017 outlook comes one week before the season begins.
NOAA says 2017 could be comparable to the 2016 season — which 15 named storms and four major hurricanes.
A handful of the storms last year impacted the Hampton Roads region, including Hurricane Matthew in mid-October.
Areas around the region are continuing to recover from Matthew as the 2017 season approaches.
The October storm caused millions of dollars in damages in some areas across southeastern Virginia and northeast North Carolina.
Matthew has been retired as an Atlantic tropical storm name.
Matthew hit the region about a month after Tropical Storm Hermine caused widespread flooding and power outages in the region.
North Carolina was again hammered by flood waters before Matthew when the remnants of Tropical Storm Julia swept across the state in late-September.
A state of emergency was declared for 11 counties — including Bertie and Chowan — as a result of the storm’s impact.
The U.S. Navy recently prepared for the upcoming hurricane season with two simulated storm events.
NOAA says it does not predict how many storms could make landfall.
The 2017 Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.