CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Active tropics this year makes it more likely 2017's hurricane season will be more active than normal, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
The agency released revised predictions Wednesday, upping the number of storms expected.
"We're now entering the peak of the season when the bulk of the storms usually form," Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA Climate Prediction Center, said.
The new update calls for between 14 and 19 named storms, up from 11 to 17 predicted back in May.
It also predicts five to nine hurricanes, unchanged from May. Of the five to nine, between two and five are expected to be classified as "major hurricanes," meaning Category 3 or higher. May's prediction called for between two and four major hurricanes.
In just the first nine weeks of this season there have been six named storms, half the number of storms during an average six-month season and double the number of storms that would typically form by early August, NOAA says.
An average Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
Tropical Storm Franklin is beginning to impact mainland Mexico and is expected to become the first hurricane of the season shortly before it makes landfall.
Meanwhile, a tropical disturbance in the Atlantic, Invest 99L, is the next system forecasters are watching for possible development within four to five days.
If it were to reach tropical storm status, it would be named Gert, the seventh named storm of the season. The next seven names on the list would be Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria and Nate.