The Atlantic’s 2017 hurricane season, which in April was forecast to be quiet, is now expected to be more active than normal.
Anywhere from 11 to 17 named storms, between five and nine hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes, are expected. An average season produces 12 named storms of which half turn into hurricanes. Of those, three would become major hurricanes.
Atlantic Ocean storms often form in the Caribbean where they could possibly aim at the Yucatán Peninsula.
The 2016 season spawned 15 named storms, seven of which were hurricanes. It was also the costliest Atlantic hurricane season since 2012.
Forecasters at the the U.S.-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration noted warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic that are likely to continue through the summer and the lack of an El Niño weather pattern in the Pacific.
Forecasters put the certainty of the busy storm season at 45 percent.
The 2017 season begins June 1, running through November.
This season, forecasters have improved technology to work with. A powerful new satellite will dramatically improve the quality of pictures taken from space and the speed at which they’re delivered.
The National Hurricane Center is also replacing a forecast model used for the last 22 years with a new model that improves predicting a storm’s intensity by five to 10 percent, said National Weather Service deputy director Mary Erickson.