TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) - Another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season could be coming at us.
AccuWeather forecasters on Wednesday predicted 16 to 20 named storms this year, with six to eight becoming hurricanes.
Three to five of the hurricanes are projected to have winds exceeding 111 mph, and four to six are forecast to directly impact the U.S.
The forecast also gave a "high chance" of a system forming before the June 1 start of the season.
The past two seasons have exhausted lists of storm names, with a record 30 named storms in 2020 and 21 named systems in 2021.
A normal year has 14 named storms, with seven becoming hurricanes and three considered major hurricanes.
This year's prediction is based, in part, on a climatological phenomenon known as La Nina, which can limit vertical wind shear in the atmosphere.
"With less wind shear in the atmosphere, there will be one fewer tropical hindrance in play," the AccuWeather report said.
"(AccuWeather meteorologist and hurricane expert Dan) Kottlowski noted that a shift to a neutral phase could occur during the summer but if La Niña remains in place, or even intensifies, then it's possible that there could be more than 20 storms."
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