THE ATLANTIC FORECAST from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
-- NOAA staffers say the U.S. should be ready for 2 or 3 Atlantic hurricanes to make landfall.
-- They predict 12 or 15 tropical storms will form in the ocean.
-- They predict 7 to 9 hurricanes.
-- They predict 3 to 5 major hurricanes. A major hurricane has winds of at least 111 mph.
-- Those predictions indicate a worse than average hurricane season.
TROPICAL STORMS THIS YEAR
-- Tropical Depression One named "Arlene" on June 9. Downgraded on June 11.
-- Arlene started off the Central American coast and came ashore near the Florida-Alabama line.
-- Tropical Depression Two became "Bret" on June 28. Downgraded on June 29.
-- Bret started off the east coast of Mexico and hit land in the same area.
-- Tropical Depression Three named "Cindy" on July 5.
-- Cindy began as a depression off the Central American coast and came ashore in southern Louisiana on July 6.
-- Tropical Depression Four named "Dennis" on July 5.
-- Dennis continues to head west, northwest through the Caribbean after beginning in the eastern part of the sea.
-- Forecasters predict the storm will make land near the Florida-Alabama line on July 11.
-- July 5 is the earliest date on record for four named storms.
-- The already active season is helping keep oil prices high -- climbing briefly past $60 a barrel Tuesday.
-- Goes June 1 - November 30.