harvey early thursday

People who live along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts should get ready to hunker down this summer and fall as meteorologists are predicting another above-average hurricane season.

Colorado State University, which has for years provided long-term hurricane forecasts, expects about 14 named storms this season, which runs between June and November.

Of the 14, half are likely to become hurricanes, and three of those are expected to reach major hurricane strength, meaning a Category 3 or higher, meteorologists wrote in a Thursday news release.

The Gulf Coast between the Florida panhandle and the Texas border with Mexico has a 38 percent chance of being hit be a major hurricane, slightly higher than the 30 percent average, Colorado State found.

Including the east coast, the country has a 63 percent chance of being hit by a major hurricane somewhere in 2018, the meteorologists predicted.

Last year was the busiest hurricane season since 2005 and included the destructive hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Part of the reason for last year’s activity was the lack of an El Niño effect.

El Niño pushes wind across the Atlantic that can tear apart storm systems as they begin to coalesce into tropical storms. As was the case  last year, it doesn't appear that El Niño will be around this summer , which will drive up the number of storms, the scientists wrote.

This year is shaping up to look like 2011, wrote research scientist Phil Klotzbach. That year 18 systems swept across the Atlantic, though most were tropical storms. Similar conditions have produced varied results in other years, with an average number of storms in some years and an above average number in others, Klotzbach said.

Follow Steve Hardy on Twitter, @SteveRHardy.