U.S. weather officials say the Atlantic hurricane season should be near normal.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday predicted nine to 15 named storms. It says four to eight of them will become hurricanes and two to four of those major hurricanes with 111 mph winds or higher.
NOAA Administrator Neil Jacobs says a current El Nino, a periodic warming of the central Pacific that changes weather worldwide, suppresses hurricane activity in the Atlantic. Other forces, including warmer-than-normal seawater, counter that.
Last year had 15 named storms, eight hurricanes and two major ones, Florence and Michael. The Atlantic averages 12 named storms a year, with six becoming hurricanes and three major storms.
NOAA says there’s a 40% chance of a normal season, with 30% chances of stronger and weaker seasons.