The U.S. east coast will experience an above average hurricane season, according to predictions from the National Weather Service and others.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center— a division of the National Weather Service – predicts 12 to 18 named storms – winds 39 mph or higher - across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1. NOAA expects:

• Six to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including:

• Three to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).

Each of these ranges has a 70 percent likelihood, and indicate that activity will exceed the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

The Atlantic Hurricane Basin consists of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico

Private forecaster Earth Networks also released its 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast. It predicts an above-average season, but one less active than last year. According to it predicitions, a total of 13 to 14 named storms are expected to form in the Atlantic Hurricane Basin. Seven to eight of these storms will become hurricanes, and four are predicted to become major hurricanes with possible winds in excess of 111 mph.

Earth Networks owns and operates the WeatherBug brand, which monitors, organizes and distributes global weather information. The WeatherBug professional brand serves a variety of markets that include federal, state and local governments and transportation companies.