Hurricane season may be even worse in 2018 after a harrowing 2017

The US may have to brace itself for another harrowing spate of hurricanes this year, with forecasts of an active 2018 season coming amid new research that shows powerful Atlantic storms are intensifying far more rapidly than they did 30 years ago.

The peak season for Atlantic storms, which officially starts on 1 June, is set to spur as many as 18 named storms, with up to five of them developing into major hurricanes, according to separate forecasts from North Carolina State Universityand Colorado State University. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will soon provide its own 2018 hurricane predictions.

The initial forecasts of an above-average season for hurricanes follow a punishing 2017, most notable for Hurricane Harvey, which drenched large areas of Texas, Hurricane Irma’s sweep over Florida and the devastation that stubbornly lingers in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria.

The peak season for Atlantic storms, which officially starts on 1 June, is set to spur as many as 18 named storms, with up to five of them developing into major hurricanes, according to separate forecasts from North Carolina State Universityand Colorado State University. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will soon provide its own 2018 hurricane predictions.

The initial forecasts of an above-average season for hurricanes follow a punishing 2017, most notable for Hurricane Harvey, which drenched large areas of Texas, Hurricane Irma’s sweep over Florida and the devastation that stubbornly lingers in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria.

These huge hurricanes brought winds of up to 185mph and lashing rains, causing hundreds of deaths, flattening homes, felling power lines and ruining roads. Combined, the three storms caused around $265bn in damage, and all ranked in the five most destructive hurricanes ever recorded.