Colorado State University released its first hurricane forecast for the season. They expect another above-average season with 17 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. Their forecast goes further and predicts the percentage of landfalls and impacts to land over the season. The team is forecasting a 96% chance of at least one named storm coming within 50 miles of the Florida Coastline and a 75% chance a hurricane does the same and a 4`1% chance of a major hurricane.
The key factor this season is the lack of El Niño conditions in the Pacific, which should continue the trend of a lower magnitude of upper-level wind shear. Lower wind shear allows storms to develop and thrive without being ripped apart by otherwise stronger upper-level winds.
Another factor is the above-average water temperatures already occurring in the Atlantic and Gulf, with the exception being the northwestern Gulf that has cooled due to record cold back in February. The current above-average water temperatures correlate to the pattern of above-average water temperatures during active hurricane seasons.
Hurricane season begins June 1st and ends November 30th.