An early forecast from scientists at Colorado State University's (CSU) Tropical Meteorology Project says that a weak or moderate El Niño is likely by the height of the Atlantic hurricane season, which means that the 2017 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have slightly below average activity.

The scientists also expect to forecast 11 named storms — four of them intensifying into hurricanes, including two that are major hurricanes with winds topping 110 mph.

The scients say there is a 42 percent probability of at least one major hurricane making landfall on the U.S. coast this season, compared with the average of 52 percent. But there is a 24 percent chance of a major hurricane hitting the Gulf Coast, 6 percent more than the last century's average of 30 percent, according to the report.

The report is authored by Klotzbach and Michael Bell in the school's Atmospheric Science Department.

AccuWeather released its early forecast as well, and also predicted a below-average season, anticipating 10 named storms, five hurricanes and three major hurricanes. AccuWeather factored the El Niño into those reports, combined with warmer temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.

Hurricane season begins June 1 and continues through Nov. 30. The months of August, September and October generally see the highest hurricane activity.

Federal forecasters will issue their prediction for the coming season next month.