The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday that it expected a more active hurricane season than in its previous forecast issued in May.
The U.S. government agency said that it now expected near or above-normal activity for the remainder of the season. The possibilities of a below-normal season, which were significant in its previous guidance, were only 15% in the latest forecast. The Atlantic storm season lasts from June to November.
NOAA anticipates 12 to 17 named storms, up from nine to 15 initially forecast. Of those storms, five to eight are likely to be hurricanes, up from four to eight. Two or three are likely to be major hurricanes (up from one to three.)
NOAA said it's increasing its expectations for an above-normal season because of warmer-than-normal sea temperatures in the Atlantic, and the formation of wind patterns that are conducive to storms. There was also strong activity early in the season, which usually indicates stronger activity overall, the agency said.
NOAA forecasters are currently following Tropical Storm Ernesto, which is near the coast of Mexico.