Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Forecasters offered a more positive outlook Thursday for the Atlantic hurricane season, saying there's now a 60 percent chance of a below-normal season -- up from just 20 percent.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration first projected in May an above-normal season in the Caribbean and Atlantic basins. It called for 10 to 16 named storms, as many as nine of which would become hurricanes. NOAA had also expected one to four major hurricanes through the season, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30.
The updated outlook now includes just nine to 13 named storms, four to seven that will become hurricanes and between zero and two major hurricanes, which are Category 3 or higher.
It also now lists a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season, up from the original 35 percent.
Through Thursday, there have been four named storms -- Alberto, Beryl, Chris and Debby. Two became hurricanes.
"There are still more storms to come -- the hurricane season is far from being over. We urge continued preparedness and vigilance," NOAA forecaster Gerry Bell said.
The reasons for the fairer weather this year, NOAA said, are cooler sea surface temperatures, a stronger wind shear, drier air and increased atmosphere stability.