Atlantic basin hurricane experts have predicted an above average hurricane season this year, which runs from June 1- November 30. 18 named storms, 9 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes of Category 3 and higher are the predictions for this year. The average figures from 1981-2010 is 12 named storms, 6.5 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes.
El Nino which creates "increased wind shear in the upper atmosphere of the Atlantic basin, inhibits the formation and strengthening of tropical cyclones" will have a neutral effect this year.
Higher sea surface temperatures also have an effect on the predictability of storms. According to experts, sea surface temperatures in the western tropical Atlantic are at near average values, while the eastern tropical Atlantic is now significantly higher than average.