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Forecasters: Less active Atlantic hurricane season expected

Hurricane Beryl, the first storm of the 2018

Hurricane Beryl, the first storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, is shown in this satellite photo near the Caribbean island of Dominica on July 7. Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images/Jose Romero

MIAMI — U.S. forecasters say the Atlantic hurricane season may be less active than they previously predicted.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's updated outlook predicts nine to 13 named storms, including four to seven hurricanes. Up to two hurricanes could be "major" with sustained winds of at least 111 mph.

Four storms already have developed this year, including two hurricanes in July.

Gerry Bell of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center said Thursday that oceanic and atmospheric conditions have become "much more inhospitable to hurricane formation and intensification."

Bell said the El Niño phenomenon also may develop as the six-month season peaks. That natural warming in the Pacific Ocean tends to reduce Atlantic hurricane activity.

He warned coastal residents the forecast doesn't predict where any storms could make landfall, which is determined by short-term weather patterns.

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