April 8 (UPI) -- A team of meteorologists in Colorado on Thursday forecast another above-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2021, months after closing the books on the most active storm season on record.
The Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project predicted there will be 17 named storms in the upcoming season, of which eight will become hurricanes. Four hurricanes are expected to be strong enough to be considered major hurricanes -- Category 3 or higher.
The average Atlantic hurricane season season sees 12.1 named storms, 6.4 of which are hurricanes and 2.7 major hurricanes.
Philip Klotzbach, CSU meteorologist, blamed the expected above-normal season on the lack of an El Niño this year and warmer than normal subtropical Atlantic Ocean.
"El Niño generally increases vertical wind shear in the Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes," he tweeted.
The CSU forecast estimated a 69% chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall somewhere on the U.S. coast, with a 45% chance on the Florida peninsula and a 44% chance on the Gulf Coast. There's also a 58% chance of a major hurricane tracking into the Caribbean.
"Coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them, and they need to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted," a CSU release said.
AccuWeather released its prediction for the upcoming season last week, forecasting 16 to 20 named storms, with seven to 10 hurricanes, three to five of which will be major.
Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30, but hurricanes have been known to develop outside those dates. In 2020, three named storms developed before June 1 and shattered the previous record for most named storms in a season with 30.
The World Meteorological Organization's Hurricane Committee retired four storm names from the 2020 season because of the death and destruction they caused -- Dorian, Laura, Eta and Iota. The committee also decided to halt the use of the Greek alphabet in the names of storms that occur after the standard list of names.
The names for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season are: Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Elsa, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Julian, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor and Wanda.