The tropical season has begun as the first tropical depression has formed off the Middle Atlantic Coast. The tropical season officially begins June 1 and runs through November 30. The 2009 season is expected to be near normal with about 10 named storms, 6 of which should become hurricanes with 2 becoming major. The number of storms is expected to be less this year due to two factors. First, ocean temperatures in the Atlantic are cooler than last year and that should take heat energy away from developing storms. Second, we have a developing El Nino in the Pacific Ocean. El Nino warms the equatorial Pacific Ocean and creates more wind shear across the Atlantic. The tropical season tends to start early and end early during an El Nino. I always keep in mind that we may have fewer storms this year but all it takes is one to create a major problem. A new forecast comes out in early June and I'll give another update.