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This NOAA satellite image released on September 1, 2017 shows what the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite captured in photo of Hurricane Irma at 11:15 am (eastern)on August 31, 2017. Irma has intensified into a Category 3 hurricane in the eastern Atlantic, just days after Harvey, the first major storm of the season, unleashed massive rain and floods on Texas and Louisiana, US meteorologists said August 31, 2017. Irma churned in open waters off the west coast of Africa, packing winds of 115 miles (185 kilometers) per hour, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said in its 2100 GMT advisory. The storm is currently far from land, but is heading straight toward the southern Caribbean, to the area between the US island territory of Puerto Rico and South America's northern coastline. / AFP PHOTO / NOAA / Handout / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / NOAA/HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS HANDOUT/AFP/Getty Images ** OUTS - ELSENT, FPG, CM - OUTS * NM, PH, VA if sourced by CT, LA or MoD **

Based on several changes in the climate, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday that it is now calling for an above normal hurricane season.

El Nino, when the waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean are warmer than usual, typically suppresses the formation of storms in the western Atlantic. But NOAA said in a press release that El Nino has ended.

NOAA hurricane forecasters are now calling for 10 to 17 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher. The organization is calling for five to nine of them to become hurricanes and for two to four to become major storms of category 3 or higher.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season already has produced two named cyclones, tropical storms Andrea and Barry.

On average, the season — which peaks on Sept. 10 — produces 12 named storms and six hurricanes, three of which become major cyclones.

"Today's updated outlook is a reminder to be prepared," acting FEMA director Pete Gaynor said in the press release.

The National Hurricane Center website is reporting that no cyclone formation is expected within the next five days.

Lee Tolliver, 757-222-5844, lee.tolliver@pilotonline.com

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