2015 hurricane season: A decade after record year that included Katrina, forecasters predict ‘below average’ storm activity

Jason Sickles
Hurricane season 10 years ago was any but normal. CLICK IMAGE to view the major U.S. storms of 2005. (AP File/Eric Gay)

The scientists have spoken — let’s hope they’re right.

Monday marks the start of the Atlantic Ocean hurricane season, and veteran forecasters are predicting below-normal activity.

To the National Weather Service, that means a 70 percent likelihood of six to 11 named storms (storms with winds of 39 mph or higher), of which three to six could become hurricanes (storms with winds of 74 mph or higher), including zero to two major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).

The Tropical Meteorology Project team at Colorado State University published a similar forecast: eight named storms and three hurricanes, with one becoming a major hurricane.

2015 hurricane season outlook. (National Weather Service)

Unfavorable hurricane formation conditions in the Atlantic and the likely development of a strong El Niño — the warming of waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean — will help keep 2015 quiet, according to forecasters.

“Historical data indicate fewer storms form in these conditions,” CSU meteorologist Phil Klotzbach said in a statement Monday.

Ten years ago today marked the start of a hurricane season that was anything but quiet.

The NWS and Colorado State warned that conditions in the Atlantic were ripe for tropical activity. Both called for an “above normal” 2005 season, but saw their prediction counts surpassed.

[PHOTOS: Major hurricanes Dennis, Emily, Katrina, Rita and Wilma from 2005]

Hurricane Katrina will forever be remembered as one of the worst U.S. weather tragedies, but the 2005 season was also the busiest ever recorded.

The year set records for the most tropical storms (28), the most hurricanes (15), the most Category 5 hurricanes (four) and the most major hurricanes to hit the U.S. (four) — Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

Hurricane season ends Nov. 30.

Jason Sickles is a reporter for Yahoo News. Follow him on Twitter (@jasonsickles).