Early forecasts predict an active hurricane season along the Atlantic coast.
Researchers at Colorado State University expect 18 named storms this year. They say four of those will likely be major storms at Category 3 or higher.
William Gray, a professor emeritus in Colorado State's atmospheric science department, says this winter's ocean currents follow trends that lead to active storm activity in the tropics.
"This circulation has been especially strong," Gray says.
"It's one of the factors that's led to such a cold winter in Europe. And in those years, we tend to have more major hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin."
Gray says hurricane forecasts are never entirely accurate, but are based on statistics from decades of data. Forecasters at N.C. State say they will issue their own predictions before hurricane season, which runs from June 1st to November 30th.