AUSTIN (KXAN) — Colorado State University and Meteorologist Phil Klotzbach Ph.D. issued the first mainstream forecast for the Atlantic Basin on Thursday.

The good news, they expect a slightly below average number of named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes this year.

But, as we always say, it doesn’t matter the number, it matters where a storm impacts. One landfalling major hurricane, in an otherwise quiet season, could cause devastation and loss of life.

Still, the forecast calls for 13 named storms (average is 14), 6 hurricanes (7 is average) and 2 major hurricanes of category 3 strength or stronger (3 is average).

Landfalling potential in Texas

Colorado State University also issues probability forecasts on a near-landfalling hurricane impacting the coastline of the United States.

In a typical year the Texas coastline (or within 50 miles of it) has a 61% chance of having a named storm, 36% chance of a hurricane with a 16% chance for a major hurricane.

This year, Colorado State University is forecasting a slightly higher chance for tropical activity within 50 miles of the Texas Coast. For a named storm, the odds are 63% (2% above average), a hurricane 38% (2% above average), or a major hurricane 16% (exactly average).

Uncertainty and El Niño

Dr. Phil Klotbach delivered the CSU April Atlantic Hurricane Season forecast during the Tropical Weather conference in South Padre, Texas. This was the first of four forecasts CSU releases ahead of and during the Atlantic Hurricane Season.

He noted the increased odds of El Niño, which usually acts to suppress tropical activity in the Atlantic Basin.

Countering that, however, were a lot of other long term computer models suggesting more tropical activity than is normal. The forecast released by CSU leans heavily on the believe the development of El Niño will be enough to bring a near or slightly below normal season.

The National Hurricane Center and NOAA usually release their initial outlook for the season in May. We’ll bring you their forecast when it’s available.