Researchers at North Carolina State University say the East Coast should be prepared for a significantly more active hurricane season this year.
The 2016 season should see 15 to 18 tropical storms and hurricanes forming in the Atlantic basin, which includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, according to Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at NC State.
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The number is significantly higher than the 1950 to 2014 average of approximately 11 named storms.
Of those named storms, researchers say 8 to 11 may grow strong enough to become hurricanes, with the possibility of 3 to 5 storms becoming major hurricanes.
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According to NC State, Xie's methodology evaluates more than 100 years of historical data on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as other variables including weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures, to predict how many storms will form in each ocean basin.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.
NC State researchers: East Coast should expect active hurricane season