NATIONWIDE -- Colorado State released its annual Atlantic hurricane season forecast Thursday, calling for another above-average season.

  • 2020 Atlantic hurricane season expected to be "above-average"
  • Forecasters predict 16 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes
  • The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1

The forecast is calling for 16 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. The seasonal averages in the Atlantic are 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

Dr. Phil Klotzbach and his team at Colorado State use a variety of methods to create the forecast. Two key areas they say that are signifying increased activity are the lack of El Nino conditions and a warmer than average tropical Atlantic.

El Nino conditions, when waters in the Pacific was warmer than average, often help reduce hurricane activity in the Atlantic. The lack of these conditions may increase activity.

Warmer than average water temps in the tropical Atlantic have been shown to increase tropical storm and hurricane activity.

For comparison the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season was also above-average, with 18 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

The forecast also breaks down probabilities of major hurricane strikes in the United States.

Colorado State is forecasting a 69% probability of a major hurricane making landfall somewhere in the continental United States. The average is 52%.

For the east coast and Florida, the probability of a strike is 45%. The average in this area is 31%. While these numbers may seem high, this region includes the entire coastline from Pensacola to Maine/Canada border.

The forecasters do note there remains some uncertainty in two key areas: how quickly El Nino conditions disappear and the actual water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic during the peak of hurricane season, which is early Fall. Both will have a big impacts on the amount of activity in the Atlantic.

It should be noted that this long range forecast is simply that – a forecast. It is not a guarantee of future events.

Colorado State is one of many forecasters that create tropical forecasts. Many more Atlantic hurricane forecasts will be issued in the coming weeks.

The next update from Colorado State is scheduled for June 4.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1.