[Updated at 12:18 p.m. ET]
A near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is expected this year, with nine to 15 named storms and four to eight hurricanes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday.
Of those four to eight hurricanes, NOAA expects one to three to be major. The Atlantic's six-month season begins June 1.
NOAA also said it predicts a near-normal season for the Eastern Pacific, estimating a 70% chance of 12 to 18 named storms –
with five to nine hurricanes, of which two to five would be major –
for that area. The Eastern Pacific's season is May 15 to November 30.
A major hurricane, designated as Category 3 or greater, packs winds of well more than 100 mph. The weakest hurricanes have top sustained winds of at least 74 mph, and named storms have top winds of at least 39 mph.