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NOAA forecasts quiet Atlantic hurricane season

This image provided by NASA shows Hurricane Gonzalo taken from the International Space Station by European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst as it moves toward Bermuda on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014.
This image provided by NASA shows Hurricane Gonzalo taken from the International Space Station by European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst as it moves toward Bermuda on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. AP Photo/Alexander Gerst/ESA/NASA

TORONTO – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its 2015 Atlantic hurricane outlook on Wednesday and it looks to be a fairly quiet season.

NOAA is calling for a 70 per cent chance of a below-normal hurricane season, a 20 per cent chance of a near-normal season and just a 10 per cent chance of an above-normal season.

It is also forecasting six to 11 named storms, including Tropical Storm Ana that formed in May. They anticipate three to six hurricanes and anywhere from no major hurricanes to two.

Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

If the administration’s forecast is correct, this would mark 10 years since a major hurricane made landfall in the U.S.

READ MORE: It’s been 9 years since a major hurricane hit the U.S. Is it just luck?

The main suppressor of the hurricane season is El Niño. An El Niño is marked by a warming in the Pacific Ocean. That warming can significantly alter weather patterns around the globe, including in the Atlantic region.

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READ MORE: El Nino: What it is and why it matters

“The main climate factor expected to suppress this hurricane season is El Niño, which is now present and is expected to last through the hurricane season,” read the NOAA forecast. “Many models predict this El Niño to further intensify as the season progresses. The current El Niño is already affecting the wind and rainfall patterns across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.”

The El Niño is expected to suppress the Atlantic hurricane season, in particular around August, just as the season peaks. However, there is uncertainty as to the intensity of El Niño.

The Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 to Nov. 30.

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