Forecasters looked at 'competing climate factors' when predicting an average Atlantic hurricane season for 2019.
The season officially begins June 1 and runs through November, but the first named storm, Andrea, has already come and gone in the Atlantic.
For 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a likely range of nine to 15 named storms with four to eight hurricanes, including two to four major hurricanes. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms with six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
"This outlook forecasts a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season and a 30% chance of a below-normal season," NOAA said.
NOAA forecasters said the ongoing EL Nino, warm waters in the Pacific Ocean, is expected to persist, limiting the intensity of hurricane season. But warmer-than-average temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea favor increased hurricane activity.
The private weather service AccuWeather is calling for 12 to 14 storms with five to seven hurricanes.
"This year, we think that there will be a few less tropical storms and lower numbers in hurricanes, but again, the old saying is ‘it only takes one,’” AccuWeather Atlantic hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski said in April.
“If this current El Nino continues or strengthens, then the number of tropical storms and hurricanes will be near or below normal,” Kottlowski said.
He predicts two to four hurricanes will impact in the United States. “This year, just about all coastal areas look like they have equal chances” of being impacted, Kottlowski said.
In 2018, NOAA also called for a near-normal season. The final numbers were 15 named storms and eight hurricanes, including Hurricane Florence in September. The storm made landfall in North Carolina and dumped record rainfall on the Carolinas, resulting in devastating flooding.
In October, Hurricane Micheal made landfall over the Florida Panhandle as a category 5 storm, wiping out entire communities.
NOAA will update its 2019 forecast in August.