RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released its official forecast for the upcoming 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season. 

The forecast calls for 12-17 storms, with five to nine of those reaching hurricane status and one to four of those possibly becoming major hurricanes. A major hurricane is defined as a category 3 — when winds reach 115 miles per hour. This forecast is considered an average or near-normal year for tropical activity. 

The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and will end November 30. The season will reach its peak between August 20 to October 1. This is when the waters in the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea are the warmest and tropical activity can develop.

The NOAA forecast is very similar to the one released earlier this year from Colorado State University, which is regarded as one of the most renowned universities that study tropical meteorology.