RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Researchers at North Carolina State University have been pouring over data to determine how active this hurricane season will be.
Dr. Lian Xie says there is conflicting data this year--one model says the season will only be slightly more active than usual, while another is predicting many more storms. He said, " Let's take an average or a so-called composite. Let's take both models, for an average, and use that for a forecast."
So here's their prediction for the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Carribean Sea: 14-18 named storms, 11 hurricanes, and 3-5 major hurricanes--category 3 or higher. In an average season, there are about 11 storms.
Xie says his team looks at a vast amount of data to determine their forecast, but it comes down to two things--ocean temperatures and upper-level winds. Knowing the current conditions is important, but it's more important to know what they will be doing when hurricane season is in full swing. And that's the hard part.
He said, " Some years we are doing really well, and some other years when conditions are more difficult to predict, everyone fails and we fail as well."
And while Xie and his team cannot forecast where a hurricane will strike, he says their seasonal forecasts should be used to plan ahead
He says the preseason forecast is a warm-up for people to pay attention to the actual forecasts from the National Hurricane Center.