FORT COLLINS, Co. (970 WFLA) - Colorado State University researchers are predicting a below-average hurricane season for the Atlantic basin in 2014, citing the likely development of an El Niño event and unusual cooling of the tropical and sub-tropical Atlantic.

The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team is calling for nine named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, between June 1 and Nov. 30. Of those, researchers expect three to become hurricanes and one to reach major hurricane strength (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.

The team bases its forecasts on over 60 years of historical data that include Atlantic sea surface temperatures, sea level pressures, vertical wind shear levels (the change in wind direction and speed with height in the atmosphere), El Niño (warming of waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific), and other factors.

The report also includes the probability of major hurricanes making landfall on U.S. soil:

• 35 percent for the entire U.S. coastline (average for the last century is 52 percent)

• 20 percent for the U.S. East Coast including the Florida peninsula (average for the last century is 31 percent)

• 19 percent for the GulfCoast from the Florida panhandle westward to Brownsville (average for the last century is 30 percent)

• 28 percent for the Caribbean (average for the last century is 42 percent) 

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