Hurricane outlook juiced up

An El Nino, the prolonged cooling of surface waters in the tropical Pacific, is imminent, and usually that would tame Atlantic the tropical storm season.

But not this year, according to forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

So far, the season has produced six named storms, those with winds of 39 m.p.h. or better, despite a dead quiet July, and two hurricanes, with winds of at least 74 m.p.h.

In an update released this morning, they are calling for from seven to 12 more named storms, with 3 to 6 more hurricanes.

If the higher range of those predictions pans out, that would result in an above-normal season.

The update adds two to three more named-storm, compared with the May outlook.

The normal for tropical storms during the season, which begins June 1, is 12; hurricanes, 6.

Normally, El Nino generates strong upper-air winds from the west that can snuff out hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin.

But this season, warm Atlantic sea-surface temperatures are favorable for hurricanes, the forecasters said.