MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – Seasonal forecasts released this year point to a near-average season.

The key factors for the forecasts this year are a developing El Niño phase, which tends to suppress tropical activity, and warmer-than-normal ocean temperatures, which tends to increase activity.

These counteracting variables have led the national oceanic and atmospheric administration to predict twelve to seventeen named storms with five to nine of those becoming hurricanes and one to four of those becoming major hurricanes.

This falls in line with an early forecast from the research team at Colorado State.

Remember…seasonal forecasts are not a predictor of landfalls, but merely the total number of storms that will form. They should have no bearing on how you prepare.