Below-normal hurricane season expected this year

This GOES East satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shows Hurricane Matthew moving northwest along the east coast of Florida on Oct. 6 2016. The first hurricane forecast of 2017 from Colorado State University

Hurricane researchers at Colorado State University have forecast a slightly below average 2017 hurricane season in its annual predictions.

A total of 11 named storms, four hurricanes and two major hurricanes are expected this season, according to the forecast prepared by the CSU Tropical Meteorology Project, headed by Dr. Phil Klotzbach.

That's compared to the median of 12 named storms, 6.5 of them hurricanes and two of those major.

USAA P&C Property Underwriting Director Rob Galbraith says, "There may not be an outlook for hurricanes this year as we just heard, it really only takes one storm".

Matthew in early October 2016 did a number on the coast despite being only a marginal hurricane as it passed while blowing few inland winds of hurricane strength.

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The Gold Glove catcher gave a bemused look and smiled. "I haven't seen that one before", Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. Schwarber got carted off Chase Field during Game 3 previous year with what was supposed to be a season-ending injury.

Even though Colorado State's forecast for this year calls for a less active season and below normal chances of a storm making landfall, Klotzbach said it's important for residents up and down the coast to keep their guard up.

One factor cited for the estimates is the potential return of El Niño, a weather phenomenon that causes high wind shear in the Atlantic that can inhibit the development of tropical storms. By the end of November, there were 15 named storms, and seven hurricanes. This eight-week period "is often the most active and risky time for tropical cyclone activity", NOAA explained on its website. In fact, it accounts for about 78 percent of all tropical storm days on record.

Last year's hurricane season was the deadliest in more than 10 years for the Atlantic basin, AccuWeather added. In addition, this period is responsible for "a whopping 96 percent of the major (Category 3, 4 and 5) hurricane days". The next forecast update is scheduled to be released June 1st, followed by a third update on July 2nd and a final update on August 2nd.

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