We've seen active tropical seasons since the middle 1990s. An increase in Atlantic Ocean temperature is one of the main reasons for the more active seasons. Water temperatures oscillate through a warm and cool phase about every 25 to 30 years. We had less active tropical seasons during the 1970s and 80s when ocean temperatures were a bit cooler. It all changed 1995 when water temperatures once again went above the long-term average. Almost every year since 1995 has been at or above the long-term average of 10 named storms. For example, in 2010 there were 19 named storms in the Atlantic Basin, which encompasses the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Fortunately, the United States had minimal impact from these storms with no hurricane hits.
I do expect another active season but probably not as many as 19. My thinking is that we'll see about 15 to 16 named storms for the entire season. Let's hope the hurricanes stay away for another year.