AccuWeather’s early prediction for the 2019 hurricane season is in: Here’s what it says

AccuWeather issued one of the first predictions for this year’s Atlantic hurricane season Wednesday, with a forecast that calls for five to seven hurricanes.

That number of storms would represent a slight decline from last year, which produced eight hurricanes, including Hurricane Michael, which struck the Florida Panhandle at devastating Category 4 strength.

The weather forecasting company called for a near-normal or slightly above normal number of storms for the season, with runs June 1 to Nov. 30. But even an average or below-average season can produce a catastrophic storm. Forecasters are fond of pointing out that the “quiet” hurricane season of 1992 produced Hurricane Andrew.

“We think this year will be not quite as active as last year,” said Dan Kottlowski, AccuWeather’s senior meteorologist. “But it only takes one hurricane to completely devastate an area.”