(News-Press.com) - The nation's top meteorological agency Thursday lowered its forecast for the 2014 hurricane season, following other experts who have done the same in recent weeks.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is now calling for a 70 percent chance of seven to 12 named storms, three to six hurricanes and zero to two major hurricanes, Category 3 or higher.
Meanwhile, the Pacific Ocean is active, with Hawaii expecting its first hurricane landfall in 22 years.
Other outlets and agencies have lowered their numbers lately. Researchers at Colorado State University in June predicted 10 named storms, four hurricanes and one major hurricane (category 3 or higher), but they changed those numbers to nine named storms, three hurricanes and one major hurricane.
This season has been quiet so far, producing Hurricanes Arthur and Bertha. Arthur made landfall in North Carolina while Bertha did not impact the United States.
A typical year, based on weather records dating to 1950, has 12 tropical storms, of which seven become hurricanes. A tropical storm has sustained winds of 39 mph; it becomes a hurricane when its winds reach 74 mph.
Wednesday will be 10th anniversary of Hurricane Charley, which made landfall in Lee County and caused widespread damage.
Meteorologists had forecast strong El Nino conditions, but the El Nino influence appears to be much weaker than anticipated.
El Nino conditions tend to suppress tropical storm formation in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.