Forecasters predict wild Atlantic hurricane season

STORY: As many as seven major hurricanes may form this year..

... in an "extraordinary" Atlantic hurricane season beginning June 1.

That's according to U.S. government forecasters Thursday.

Officials say this forecast has higher ranges than 2005, the year when Hurricane Katrina hit.

Rick Spinrad is administrator of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

''This season is looking to be an extraordinary one in a number of ways based on our data and models with the El Nino, La Nina playing out a significant role.''

Director of the National Hurricane Center Michael Brennan, says there could be between 17 and 25 named storms.

4 to 7 may reach major hurricane status, with wind speeds of over 111 miles-per-hour.

"We've been seeing near or record-warm ocean temperatures across the Atlantic basin now going back to last year and that that trend is continuing the season. And, you know, warm ocean water is the fuel and the energy source for tropical storms and hurricanes as they develop."

"And we're actually expecting La Nina to develop, which is tends to enhance activity year and create more favorable atmospheric conditions for storms to develop in the Atlantic."

The administration says all vulnerable communities in Florida should be prepared, given the unpredictability of storms.

"So the message for everybody in Florida, if that's that's the area you're focused on, is that everybody has to be ready throughout the entire season, all the way from June through November. We can have hurricane impacts, tropical storm impacts, throughout the entire season in Florida. The vulnerability is there everywhere from the keys to South Florida to Tampa, Jacksonville, the Panhandle."

NOAA's forecast is in line with other initial outlooks.

Private forecaster AccuWeather says there's a 10-15% chance of 30 or more named storms in the 2024 hurricane season, which runs until November.

Last year three major hurricanes formed among 20 named storms.

The most destructive was hurricane Idalia, which tore up the West Coast of Florida.