Even though we've already seen one tropical storm in the Atlantic this year (Arlene), the official start of hurricane season is June 1st. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has released their 2017 Atlantic hurricane season forecast and their expecting an average or above average season.
NOAA's forecast calls for: Eleven to 17 named storms – including April's Tropical Storm Arlene. Five to 9 of which would become hurricanes. Two to 4 of which would become major hurricanes.
NOAA's outlook reflects their expectation of a weak / non-existent El Niño, near or above-average sea-surface temperatures and average or possibly weaker-than-average vertical wind shear within the tropics. This set up is favorable for tropical systems since strong El Niños typically lead to increased wind shear in parts of the Atlantic Basin. This suppresses the development or intensification of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, so the prediction for weak conditions increases the chance for more activity this season.
These outlooks are designed primarily for emergency management, risk management and insurance companies. Regardless of the outlook, it's always encouraged to prepare for the season - since all it takes is one storm to cause serious problems like Sandy & Katrina.
Here's the 2017 Hurricane Name List: During the entire season we'll be tracking every storm in the tropics and you can too with our Hurricane Tracker page.