Every year the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration makes a prediction for the upcoming hurricane season which runs from June 1st through November. The forecast takes into account climate signals, like El Niño and La Niña, sea surface temperatures and wind shear.
Last year, an above normal season was predicted and that forecast was pretty accurate. 19 named storms formed, four of them were major hurricanes including Hurricane Irene that slammed into Rhode Island as a tropical storm.
But this year, the prediction is a bit different. National Weather Service, Senior Meteorologist Matthew Belk explains, "we're expecting a near normal season in 2012 in the Atlantic basin, that would mean 9-15 named storms, 4-8 of those becoming hurricanes and 1-3 of those 4-8 becoming major hurricanes which is defined as category 3 or higher."
Belk also stresses that even though it is early in the season now is the time to be prepared, "hopefully everyone remembers Hurricane Irene last year and can take that experience and we can all be better prepared and safer for the 2012 season."