The Atlantic hurricane season, which has just entered its peak period, could be worse than predicted: There is a 45 percent chance of above-normal activity, up from the 30 percent outlook issued in May, federal forecasters said Thursday.
The number of predicted named storms also increased: Expect 10 to 17 tropical storms, up from the nine to 15 predicted in May.
Five to nine of those named storms could become hurricanes, up from the four to eight forecast in May.
Two to four major hurricanes are likely, a prediction unchanged in the new outlook. Major hurricanes represent Categories 3, 4 and 5 and have wind speeds of 111 mph or greater.
An average season has 12 named storms, with six hurricanes and three major hurricanes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The updated outlook “is a reminder to be prepared,” said Pete Gaynor, the acting administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “We urge everyone to learn more about hurricane hazards and prepare now, ahead of time.”