National Hurricane Center Predicts Above Average 2011 Season

Six to 10 hurricanes expected for 2011 season.

ByABC News
May 31, 2011, 5:13 PM

May 31, 2011 -- Atlantic hurricane season begins Wednesday and the National Hurricane Center predicts that it will be an above average summer with 12 to 18 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes and three to six major hurricanes, which are Category 3 and above.

Last year, despite an historically active hurricane season with 19 named storms, no hurricanes made landfall in the U.S. In fact, the last hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. was Ike in 2008.

National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen cautioned that the long-range predictions are missing an important piece of information.

"It's not telling you where they are going to make landfall -- that long-range science does not exist," Feltgen said. "It doesn't matter if there are 50 storms or one, if that one storm hits you it's a really bad year, and that's the one storm you need to be preparing for right now."

Feltgen said it is vital that anyone who could be affected by a hurricane have a personal plan in place.

"If you don't have one and you find yourself under a hurricane warning, odds are you are going to be making the wrong decisions at the wrong time," he said.

On average the month of June has one storm every two years. This year the first named storm will be called Arlene, the most used storm name of all-time.

There are six lists that continually rotate and names are only removed from them after it is determined that a hurricane was so devastating that it would be insensitive to reuse the name.

The 2011 list is the same as the incredibly active and destructive 2005 hurricane season with a few notable exceptions, five hurricanes names were retired from the 2005 list because of their fury. Dennis has been replaced by Don, Katrina by Katia, Rita by Rina, Stan by Sean and Wilma by Whitney.

Gerard McNiff contributed to this report.