Colorado State University meteorologists are predicting that this year’s Atlantic hurricane season could bring above-normal storm activity, with climate conditions pointing toward formation of 16 named storms.

Eight of those are expected to develop sustained hurricane-strength winds of at least 74 mph, and four are expected to reach level 3 to 5 status with sustained winds of 111 to 157 mph or higher.

The researchers cited current warm water conditions in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean and an anticipated cooling pattern this summer as factors potentially contributing to a weak La Niña effect, as well as warmer waters over the tropical Atlantic this spring.

“We anticipate an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean,” researchers wrote in their forecast released April 2. “As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them.”

Electric cooperatives serving members in coastal areas of 17 states along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico are already preparing for the upcoming season, which begins June 1 and concludes Nov. 30, by increasing their inventories of hardware and other equipment essential for major system restoration work.

The seasonal forecast is one of four to be released by CSU’s Tropical Meteorology Project before September. In 2019, CSU meteorologists predicted 13 named storms and two major hurricanes in their April forecast; the season totaled 18 named storms and three major hurricanes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center is expected to issue its Atlantic hurricane forecast next month.