Near-normal 2019 hurricane season predicted: agency
The US hurricane tracking agency on Thursday predicted a "near-normal" Atlantic hurricane season this year after a destructive 2018.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, a 30 percent chance of an above-normal season and a 30 percent chance of a below-normal season.
The season officially extends from June 1 to November 30.
Hurricanes Florence and Michael, in September and October 2018, killed dozens of people and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.
This time last year, the NOAA predicted a 75 percent probability of a near or above normal hurricane season.
Authorities are encouraging Americans to prepare. More than 80 million people live in high-risk areas in the United States, most of whom aren't on the coasts themselves, said Gerry Bell, an NOAA official.
Damage from hurricanes is usually caused more by flooding than by high winds.
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