Hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University continue to anticipate an above-average storm season for the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico this year.

The July 7 forecast from the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University updates its original April predictions. Researchers now predict 20 named storms for the season, up from its April total of 16 storms for the year. Nine of those storms could reach hurricane strength with sustained winds topping 74 mph, up from an earlier projection of eight. Four of those could pack sustained winds of 111 to 156 mph, attaining major hurricane status.

“The probability of U.S. major hurricane landfall is estimated to be about 135% of the long-period average," wrote university forecasters, citing a review of 38 years of data.

The preseason forecast released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in May predicted six to 10 hurricanes among 13 to 19 named weather systems. Government climatologists projected that three to six of those storms could achieve major hurricane status.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1 through Nov. 30, but storm activity often is reported in May. Before the official season began, Hurricane Arthur skirted the North Carolina coast and Hurricane Bertha brought rainfall and gusty winds to the Carolinas before heading inland into Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Tropical Storm Cristobal rumbled inland near Grand Isle, Louisiana, east of New Orleans, on June 7. Its sustained winds of 50 mph and heavy rains caused some coastal flooding in southeastern Louisiana and Mississippi.

The storm designated Dolly attained tropical storm strength June 23 before being downgraded to subtropical status east of Newfoundland the following day. Tropical Storm Edouard formed in the north-central Atlantic July 4, before moving northeastward over open water. Tropical Storm Fay formed off the North Carolina coast July 9, becoming the earliest sixth named storm on record.

The updated midseason forecast from NOAA's National Climate Prediction Center will be released Aug. 6. CSU's next update is tentatively scheduled for early September. In 2019, CSU meteorologists predicted 13 named storms and two major hurricanes in their April forecast, which was less than the actual 18 named storms and three major hurricanes.