NOAA 99-057
Contact:  Susan Harrison                       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
          301-763-8000, ext. 7007              8/10/99
          Frank Lepore
          (305) 229-4404


     Even though the 1999 Atlantic hurricane season has produced one named

tropical storm to date, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

scientists still expect a busier-than-normal hurricane season across the

North Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea during the peak period from

mid-August through mid-October.  In an update to the hurricane outlook NOAA

released in May, scientists still say three or more intense Atlantic storms

are possible this season, and residents living in communities along the East

and Gulf coasts should remain prepared.

     "Last year we had fourteen named storms, and the first hurricane
(Bonnie) didn't develop until mid-August," said Gerald Bell, a research
meteorologist at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.  "This year, many of the
most prominent atmospheric and oceanic factors that can generate tropical
storm and hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin are already in place, and
are expected to persist through the season.  Just because we haven't seen a
hurricane yet this year, don't get fooled into thinking that this will be a
light season."

      Those factors, Bell said, include: low wind shear across the tropical
Atlantic, below average air pressure across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and
Caribbean Sea, a structure and location of the African easterly jet, which
may provide energy to developing storm systems, and above average sea
surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.



     Bell added that "the expected continuation of these conditions is based
on their strong link to existing patterns of tropical rainfall and
cooler-than-average tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures (La Niņa), both of
which are expected to persist through the remainder of the hurricane
season." La Niņa refers to cooler-than-average sea- surface temperatures
across the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, which historically
have contributed to a greater number of hurricanes in the Atlantic.

     Last year, the CPC issued its first-ever Atlantic hurricane outlook in
August and accurately forecast an above-normal number of tropical storms and
hurricanes for the remainder of the season. In all, the 1998 hurricane
season produced 14 tropical storms, including three major hurricanes. These
storms inflicted $7.3 billion in damages and 23 fatalities in the United
States alone.

     In an average season, the Atlantic Basin experiences between five and
six hurricanes, two of which are severe and 1.5 storms make land fall.

     Bell said two additional factors -- reduced wind shear over the
Caribbean Sea and a northward extension of deep tropical moisture and
rainfall to the hurricane development region -- that are typically observed
during active hurricane seasons are not yet in place, but are expected to
develop during the coming weeks.

     Residents living in hurricane-vulnerable areas should remain vigilant,
said Jerry Jarrell, director of NOAA's National Hurricane Center. "With only
one tropical storm so far, the potential remains high for considerable
activity in the 10 weeks remaining in the most active part of the typical


NOTE TO EDITORS: For the latest hurricane outlook and hurricane information
please visit: