Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Meteorologists on Thursday upgraded the number of named storms expected for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, but said it will continue to be a below-average year.
Colorado State University's Tropical Meterology Project predicted there will be 12 named storms and five hurricanes, up from 11 and four, respectively, in its June 2 update. Still, it's down from the team's initial predictions in early April of an above-normal year with 14 named storms and seven hurricanes.
Meteorologists reversed course for their expectations in July, saying the tropical Atlantic Ocean is cooler than normal, which should lead to a below-average hurricane season. The meteorologists also forecasted a weak El Nino over the next several months.
"However, regardless if conditions remain in [El Nino-Southern Oscillation]-neutral territory or anomalously warm to a weak El Nino event, we believe that the hurricane-unfavorable conditions in the Atlantic are likely to persist over the next several months," the Tropical Meteorology Project said in its update.
There have been three named storms so far this season with two hurricanes, meaning the team expects nine more named storms, three of which will become hurricanes.
There's a 35 percent chance a major hurricane will make landfall in the United States, 20 percent chance one will hit the U.S. East Coast and 19 percent chance one will hit the Gulf Coast.
The average hurricane season hurricane season sees 12 named storms and six hurricanes.
Despite the decreased forecast, experts warned a single powerful storm can still lead to a devastating season.
"As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them," the forecast said. "They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted."
The National Hurricane Center's list of names for the 2018 hurricane season are: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sara, Tony, Valerie and William.