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2017 Atlantic hurricane season outlook released

RICHMOND, Va. — The National Weather Service has issued its outlook for the 2017 Atlantic tropical season.  The season runs from June 1 to November 30.  This year’s activity started way ahead of schedule when Tropical Storm Arlene formed in early April.

The outlook shows a 45% chance of an above-normal season.  El Nino, which is a main ingredient forecasters look at, has been fairly weak with no major signs of how it will change over the next few months.

Warmer ocean temperatures and the potential for less wind shear than normal are some ingredients that the outlook is based on.

These numbers include Arlene from April, and only show the forecast for storms that form.  It has no bearing on whether those storms make a landfall in the United States or not.

A tropical system becomes a named storm when it reaches tropical storm strength, which is sustained winds of 39 mph or higher.  A storm becomes a hurricane when the winds reach 74 mph.  A major hurricane is when winds are 111 mph or higher, which is a category 3, 4 or 5 storm.

Here are the names for the 2017 Atlantic season:

The tropical season peaks in early September.  This is after the sun warms the ocean waters all summer, and when wind shear is typically the lowest.  Wind shear tends to keep storms from forming and tends to weaken storms that have already formed.

You can keep tabs on all things tropical with the CBS 6 Hurricane and tropical tracker here.

Stay With CBS 6, The Weather Authority.