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Active hurricane season likely

Active hurricane season likely

Property owners should brace for a potentially active Atlantic hurricane season this year, but the long-term trend points to a slowdown in storm activity, according to a hurricane forecast released Wednesday.

The Weather Company, an Andover, Massachusetts-based unit of IBM Corp., predicts that 2016 will be the most active tropical season since 2012, with 14 named storms, of which eight would be hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

The total includes the Hurricane Alex, which formed in January, the first Atlantic hurricane in January since 1955.

The forecast numbers for this tropical season are slightly higher than both the 1950-2015 average “normals” of 12 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes, and close to the recent active period of 1995-2015 “normals” of 15 named storms, eight hurricanes and three major hurricanes, Weather Company said in a statement.

“The long-term trends in Atlantic Ocean temperatures suggest that the years of hyperactive tropical seasons may be coming to an end for a while,” Todd Crawford, the company's chief meteorologist said in a statement. “However, the expected cessation of El Nino forcing along with reasonably warm tropical Atlantic (sea surface temperatures) should provide for a more normal season this year.”

Other hurricane forecasters also predicted a more active storm season.

Earlier this month, researchers at North Carolina State University said the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season will be significantly more active than the overall averages from 1950 to the present with 15 to 18 tropical storms and hurricanes forming in the Atlantic basin.

Colorado State University's Tropical Meteorology Project also said earlier this month that this year's Atlantic hurricane season is expected to see average activity, but uncertainty remains. The forecasters said they expect 13 named storms and six hurricanes through the end of this year's Atlantic hurricane season, including Hurricane Alex in January.

MDA Weather Services, a unit of Canadian information technology company MacDonald, Dettwiler & Associates Ltd., forecast there would be more storms this year than normal, with 14 named storms and seven hurricanes, three of them major hurricanes.

Meteorologists at AccuWeather, a private weather forecaster based in Pennsylvania, also predicted more storms than normal this year, with an expected 14 named storms and eight hurricanes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is scheduled to issue its forecast next month.

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