The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts below-average storm activity for the six-month 2015 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially begins June 1.

The forecast calls for six to 11 tropical storms with three to six reaching hurricane status (winds above 74 mph) and two reaching major hurricane strength (winds topping 111 mph).

In an average year, the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico experience 12 named tropical storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes, NOAA said.

Hurricane season runs through Nov. 30. The season's first storm, Tropical Storm Ana, came ashore in North Carolina earlier this month.

A strengthening El Nino is the main reason forecasters predict a quiet season.

El Nino, characterized by unusually warm temperatures in the equatorial regions of the Pacific Ocean, changes global wind patterns that create unfavorable conditions for the formation of hurricanes. 

NOAA's forecast did not say whether any of the storms are likely to make landfall in the U.S.


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