The Atlantic hurricane season will be here much sooner than many of us would like, and here's one sign that it's on the horizon: agencies are releasing their forecast.
Colorado State University released its early outlook on Thursday. While the official forecast from NOAA comes out in mid-May, the university's specialists and NOAA work closely together.
This year, the forecast calls for 13 named storms (the average is 14), six hurricanes (the average is seven), and two major hurricanes defined as Category 3 or higher (the average is three).
According to CSU meteorologist Dr. Philip Klotzbach, who specializes in Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecasts, the amount of storms is right in line with an "average" season or even slightly below normal.
"The primary reason for the slightly below-average Atlantic #hurricane season is the significant potential for #ElNino development. El Niño typically reduces Atlantic hurricane activity via increases in Caribbean/tropical Atlantic vertical wind shear," said Klotzbach in a tweet.
Klotzbach added this means that if a strong El Niño does come on, he will revise the forecast even lower.
Still, you'll want to stay prepared.
These seasonal outlooks only tell us how many storms are expected to form, not where they will go.
And remember, it only takes one storm to make it a bad hurricane season.
On average in Texas, for example, the Lone Star State has a 28% chance of getting hit by a hurricane in any given season.
Hurricane season in the Atlantic starts June 1 and ends Nov. 30. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and also ends Nov. 30.
The video above is a look at how to build a hurricane preparedness kit.