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3 named Atlantic hurricanes predicted

Three named Atlantic hurricanes are predicted this year, and one of them could be a major Category 3 or higher, according to Coastal Carolina University’s HUGO Hurricane Landfall Outlook Program.

That number is down from four in April, yet the probability is greater that one of them could make landfall on the East Coast or Gulf Coast, according to the program’s mid-June forecast update.

The one predicted Category 3 or greater storm, meanwhile, is down from two forecast in April.

According to the June outlook, the statistical probability of a landfall on the East Coast rose from 0.14 to 0.31, and on the Gulf Coast from 0.10 to 0.38, compared with April.

Still, the most likely scenario remains the same: That no hurricanes will make landfall on either the East Coast or the Gulf Coast in 2015, according to the Coastal Carolina program.

The second most likely scenario is that one hurricane will make landfall on either the East Coast or Gulf Coast, and the third most likely possibility is that one hurricane each will make landfall on the East Coast and the Gulf Coast, according to the program.

Coastal Carolina University is in Conway, S.C. Scientists at the school unveiled the program in 2013.

The model differs from most other hurricane prediction instruments in that it offers landfall probability information, according to the university. The model is based on calculations of 22 climatological factors encompassing oceanic, atmospheric and shoreline activity. Also factored in are statistical data from Atlantic hurricanes dating to 1950.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially started June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

In late May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a 70 percent likelihood of six to 11 named storms – those with winds 39 mph or higher.

Three to six of those storms could become hurricanes, with winds of 74 mph or higher, including one or two Category 3, 4 or 5 storms with winds of 111 mph or higher, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center reported.

It all adds up to a below-normal hurricane season being suppressed by El Niño, Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with the Climate Prediction Center, said last month.

“We also expect sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic to be close to normal, whereas warmer waters would have supported storm development,” Bell said.

Tropical Storm Ana, which made landfall May 10 between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach with top sustained winds of 45 mph, did not signal that a stronger storm season is on the way, government officials said.

Marusak: 704-358-5067;

Twitter: @jmarusak

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