TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be “near normal” with at least 12 named storms, forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.

NOAA forecasts a range of 12 to 17 total named storms this season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Of those, five to nine will be hurricanes, and one to four major hurricanes.

NOAA said it has 70% confidence in these ranges.

The forecast paints a less active season than in recent years due in part to the high potential for El Nino development this summer. El Nino’s effects often suppress Atlantic hurricane activity.

But NOAA says rising sea temperatures and the potential for an above-normal west African monsoon may create more energy to fuel storm development, offsetting El Nino’s potential influence.

Scientists say climate change has resulted in warming ocean temperatures and other atmospheric conditions that have been producing more active hurricane seasons since 1995.

“Although a near-average season is predicted, these numbers don’t show where any of the storms will go,” WFLA Meteorologist Amanda Holly said. “While we hope for a less active season, it only takes one strong storm coming through our area to make it a bad year.”

Last year’s hurricane season was slightly below average with just 14 named systems. Of those, eight were hurricanes and two were major hurricanes.

The biggest named systems to impact the southeast U.S. were namely Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole, which arrived in the final months of the season and brought devastation to much of southwest Florida.

“As we saw with Hurricane Ian, it only takes one hurricane to cause widespread devastation and upend lives,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “So regardless of the number of storms predicted this season, it is critical that everyone understand their risk and heed the warnings of state and local officials.”