There could be from 12 to 17 named tropical cyclones this hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean, similar to the number of named storms last year and a “near-normal” amount, forecasters said.
There is, however, uncertainty in the outlook unveiled on Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, because of the unknown effect of competing weather patterns. Storms are given names when their winds reach or exceed 39 miles per hour.
Rick Spinrad, the NOAA administrator, said at a news conference on Thursday morning that forecasters believed that from five to nine of the named storms could become hurricanes, meaning they would reach winds of at least 74 m.p.h. Those could include from one to four major hurricanes — Category 3 or higher — with winds of at least 111 m.p.h.
According to NOAA, there is a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season and a 30 percent chance…