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Experts predict 'below-average' hurricane season

Colorado State University report anticipates just three hurricanes

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(Reid Wiseman/NASA)

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – It's certainly not an excuse for South Florida residents to let down their guard, but forecasters are predicting a "well below-average" Atlantic hurricane season in 2015.

Colorado State University meteorologists William Gray and Philip Klotzbach released their annual predictions on Thursday and anticipate the formation of seven tropical storms and believe only three will grow into hurricanes.

Gray and Klotzbach cite the likely development of a moderate to strong El Niño as the base of their prediction. The duo also expect a cooling of the tropical and sub-tropical Atlantic Ocean.

According to the data in the report, the 2015 season, which starts on June 1, is comparable to past seasons which had below-normal activity.

"The tropical Atlantic has anomalously cooled over the past several months, and the chances of a moderate to strong El Niño event this summer and fall appear to be quite high," Klotzbach said in the university's report. "Historical data indicate fewer storms form in these conditions."

The report adds that the probability of a major hurricane making landfall on the U.S. East Coast including the Florida peninsula is just 15 percent, down from the last century's average of 31 percent.

Of course, the forecasters make sure to remind all residents living in areas prone to tropical systems that despite the below-average prediction, it only takes one storm to make it an active and terrible season.