The upcoming hurricane season is shaping up to be a nasty one, The Weather Channel reports. New data from The Weather Company (owners of The Weather Channel and Weather Underground) projects that 14 named storms—including seven hurricanes and three Category 3 (or stronger) hurricanes—will form over the Atlantic in 2017, bringing the total number of storms for this hurricane season well above the average.
According to 30 years of statistics analyzed by Colorado State University [PDF], the Atlantic sees 11 named storms, four hurricanes, and two major hurricanes (Category 3 or above) in an average year. These numbers are starting to skew higher: In 2016, a total of 15 named storms, with seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes, hit the area. Scientists blame rising sea-surface temperatures for the volatile weather. Above-average temperatures have already been recorded in the Atlantic, and the ocean surface is only predicted to get warmer as the year progresses.
El Niño, a climate cycle in the Pacific that impacts weather around the world, is expected to be less aggressive than usual this year. A more active El Niño would put a damper on the formation of hurricanes in the tropical Atlantic.
Hurricane season officially begins on June 1, but this year it got off to an early start. Tropical Storm Arlene, which appeared in April without making landfall, marked the first named storm of 2017. The season runs through November, with peak activity occurring between mid-August and mid-October.
[h/t The Weather Channel]