FORT COLLINS, CO — Colorado State University has released its annual Atlantic Basin hurricane season forecast for 2018, as part of the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project, with predictions of slightly above average expected storms, according to the Weather Channel.

The forecast predicts a busy season, though less active than 2017, including 14 expected named storms (30-year average: 12); seven expected hurricanes (30-year average: 6); and two expected Category 3 or higher hurricanes (30-year average: 2).

El Niño and La Niña warming effects in the oceans seem to be waning, resulting in likely neutral or near-neutral conditions during the height of hurricane season. La Niña conditions were a factor in the catastrophic 2017 hurricane season.

Above-average water temperatures off the U.S. East Coast currently exist, while averages are cooler than average in northern waters. Water temperatures play a major role in the development of hurricanes, with 80-plus-degree water generally recognized as conducive to hurricane development, and above-average temperatures in the Atlantic generally indicates a more active season.

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1. Planned names for the 2018 hurricane season are as follows: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sara, Tony, Valerie, and William.