The initial Atlantic seasonal hurricane forecast released Thursday by Colorado State University calls for a slightly above average 2018 hurricane season, with 14 named storms and seven hurricanes, three of them major storms.
"We anticipate a slightly above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean," the report said.
The "slightly above-average" call is largely due to the fact that the development of El Niño this summer seems unlikely. An El Niño pattern tends to stunt the development of tropical activity in the Atlantic due in part to the increase upper-level westerly winds across the Caribbean.
Meteorologists also noted that the western tropical Atlantic Ocean is unusually warm for this point in the year, while portions of the eastern tropical Atlantic and the far North Atlantic are unusually cool, but what that means for sea surface temperatures during the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane season is uncertain.
The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season begin June 1 and last through November, but pick season for tropical development that affects the U.S. is generally between mid-August and mid-October.
While these forecasts are compelling, it is important to know we are still rather early in the season and that several more predictions will be released by CSU, The National Hurricane Center and other meteorological agencies in the weeks and months to come.
The Weather Authority at News4Jax is digesting the entire 38-page hurricane activity forecast and will update this article with more details throughout the day.