TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Forecasters who predicted an above-average Atlantic hurricane season this year updated their forecast on Thursday and now say they’re expecting a “very active” season.

Meteorologists with Colorado State University released an updated extended-range hurricane season forecast to “call for a well above-average Atlantic basin hurricane season.”

The new season outlook predicts 20 named storms including 10 hurricanes, five of which they expect to be major hurricanes. A major hurricane is any storm that reaches sustained wind speeds of 111 mph or higher.

The updated forecast from CSU comes less than two months after its initial extended-range forecast was issued, on April 7. That initial forecast predicted 19 named storms this year with nine hurricanes, including four major hurricanes.

Dr. Philip Klotzbach and his team at CSU listed several reasons for the anticipated above-average tropical activity – including the expected La Niña conditions for the peak of hurricane season.

“The odds of an El Niño appear quite unlikely over the next few months. El Niño typically reduces Atlantic hurricane activity through increases in vertical wind shear,” the CSU forecast says.

Warm water temperatures are also a factor. According to CSU, the tropical Atlantic has above-normal sea surface temperatures.

“A warmer eastern subtropical and mid-latitude Atlantic in the late spring typically correlates with a weaker
subtropical high that then leads to anomalous warming of the tropical Atlantic by the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season,” the forecast says.

Experts with NOAA are also predicting an above-average season. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center expects between 14 to 21 named storms with wind speeds of 39 mph or higher, six to 10 of which could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher, including three to six major hurricanes.

With hurricane season now officially underway, and meteorologists keeping a close eye on a potential area of development in the Gulf of Mexico, experts are reminding everyone to prepare for an active season no matter what.

“Coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them, and they need to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted,” CSU says.

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