Hurricane outlook toned down

The changes are subtle, but WSI Corp., a private outfit in Massachusetts, is trimming its hurricane outlook numbers.

Citing cooler-than expected sea-surface temperatures in the North Atlantic, WSI now is calling for eight hurricanes, those with winds of at least 74 m.p.h., with three of those becoming "major," with peak sustained winds of at least 111 m.p.h.

Todd Crawford, WSI's meteorologist, says that an El Nino, an anomalous warming in the tropical Pacific that can have a dampening effect on Atlantic hurricanes, could develop.

He said the company might end up bringing down the numbers further in its Aug. 22 update.

WSI is sticking with its call for a total of 16 named storms, those with winds of at least 39 m.p.h., for the entire season in the Atlantic Basin, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

So far, four named storms have formed, counting Dorian, the one churning now in the far eastern Atlantic, which is still several days away from any hype zone.

Hurricane-forceast downgrades aside, the WSI outlook still sees well-above normal tropical-storm activity for the season.

The seasonal averages for named storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes are roughly 12, 7, and 3, respectively.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Accu-Weather Inc., and the Colorado State University team all have called for above-average seasons.

In terms of numbers of named storms, 2013 is about a month ahead of schedule.