The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the parent agency of the National Hurricane Center, has issued its mid-season update on expectations for the current hurricane season.
Scientists say conditions in the ocean and the atmosphere are conspiring to produce a less active Atlantic hurricane season than initially predicted in May, though NOAA continues to advocate for caution as the season enters its peak months.
Seasonal forecasters say they have increased the likelihood of a below-normal Atlantic hurricane season to 60 percent in the updated outlook.
They say the likelihood of a near-normal season is now at 30 percent, and the chance of an above-normal season has dropped to 10 percent.
For the entire season, which ends November 30, NOAA predicts a total of 9 to 13 named storms.
Forecasters say a total of between 4 and 7 of those storms could become hurricanes, and perhaps two of those hurricanes could become major hurricanes.
So far, the Atlantic season has seen four named storms, including two hurricanes.
Forecasters caution that this outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast.
In other words, there is no telling from this forecast which of these storms will make landfall, where they could arrive, or how strong they could be at the time of any prospective landfall.
Forecasters say the best defense, as always, is just to be ready for the season.
Forecasters also say they are urging coastal residents to make sure they have their hurricane preparedness plans in place and to monitor the latest forecasts as we move into peak hurricane season.