JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Forecasters at Colorado State University are now calling for an above-average Atlantic hurricane season.
The seasonal forecast, updated on July 6, has been raised from a slightly above-average season earlier this year.
The official forecast now calls for 18 named storms, nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes.
This is an increase from the previous forecast update issued on June 1, when the forecast was for 15 storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
The average in the Atlantic basin is 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
It should be noted the Atlantic has already seen three named storms and one unnamed subtropical storm, so forecasters are calling for 14 additional storms.
Why the Change?
Scientists at Colorado St. are growing more confident that extremely warm water temperatures in the tropical and subtropical Atlantic will lead to more tropical storms and hurricanes.
The surge in water temperatures can help fuel tropical waves into becoming storms and hurricanes.
This forecast increase is despite the development of El Nino in the Pacific.
El Nino conditions have a tendency to increase wind shear in the tropical Atlantic and reduce the frequency of tropical storms and hurricanes.
Despite the forecast increase, much of the month of July looks quiet in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the open waters of the Atlantic.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting no major development through mid-July.
Longer-range computer models are hinting at the possibility of some development in mid-to-late July, but the signal is too weak to be certain at this time.
July is typically a quiet month in the tropical Atlantic, with most tropical storms and hurricanes developing in the back half of hurricane season.
Colorado St. forecasters did stress the forecast update has a higher-than-normal uncertainty. This is primarily based on how strong El Nino will become and how warm water temperatures will be for the peak of hurricane season in late August-October.
Hurricane season concludes on Nov. 30.