With two tropical storms already in the books, it may seem like the 2012 hurricane season has been under way for weeks.
But the season officially begins Friday.
Despite the early formation of tropical storms Alberto and Beryl, and busy seasons the past two years, forecasters are predicting a moderate season.
Nine to 15 named storms are expected during the six-month season from June 1 to Nov. 30, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Several other storm experts have predicted 10 to 12 storms.
The predictions are based in part on cooler surface waters in the Atlantic basin — the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico — and the possibility of a late summer El Niño, which creates upper atmospheric storms that thwart hurricane development.
Forecasters already have said the early season storms are not an indication of things to come.
"Historically there's no correlation between activity early in the season or what the season will be like as a whole," said Bay News 9 chief meteorologist Mike Clay.