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Busier Atlantic hurricane season forecast

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The Weather Co. on Tuesday increased its 2017 hurricane forecast due to warmer water temperatures in the Atlantic.

The Atlanta-based division of IBM increased its forecast numbers for the full season to 17 named storms and nine hurricanes, four of which are major hurricanes, compared with the 15 named storms, eight hurricanes and three major hurricanes previously projected. These numbers include the eight named storms and two hurricanes that have occurred as of Tuesday.

The current forecast numbers are now higher than both the long-term 1950-2016 normals of 12 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes, but match the recent “active period” (1995-2016) normals of 15 named storms, eight hurricanes and three major hurricanes, the company said in a statement.

“We are already off to a fast start to the 2017 tropical season,” Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist at The Weather Co., said in the statement.As the positive ocean temperature anomalies in tropical Atlantic continue to increase and the model trends lean more towards La Niña conditions heading through the peak of the season, we have no choice but to raise our numbers further. There will likely be significant subseasonal fluctuations in activity levels, such that the peak of the season may be less active than normal but that both sides of the peak will be unusually active.”