The projection was included in a seasonal outlook update issued Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
As the season's peak approaches -- late August through October -- NOAA is predicting 14 to 20 named tropical storms and eight to 12 hurricanes, of which four to six could be Category 3, 4 or 5, major hurricanes with winds of at least 111 mph.
The average figure is 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
The named storm prediction number includes the recent Alex, Bonnie and Colin storms.
"All indications are for considerable activity during the next several months," Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said.
"As we've seen in past years, storms can come on quickly during the peak months of the season," he said. "There remains a high likelihood that the season could be very active, with the potential of being one of the more active on record."
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