Although very few tropical storms or hurricanes have struck the United States n recent years, the overall number of systems in the Atlantic Ocean has been well above the long-term means during this time period. A combination of warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in conjunction with favorable upper-level winds has been the attributing factors to these increased numbers.
There are some indications that the 2012 hurricane season may be quieter than in recent years. The Atlantic Ocean, like the Pacific, goes through a slow oscillation between warmer and cooler water temperatures. Sea surface temperatures this year are expected to be near or even slowly below normal, a significant departure from recent years. Plus, a weak El Nino may develop by the end of the summer, which tends to produce unfavorable winds for hurricane development in the Atlantic.
All of this is conjecture at this point, but most hurricane experts expect fewer storms this year than in the recent past. Yet, as we learned in 1992 with Hurricane Andrew, it only takes one storm.