MIAMI – U.S. forecasters predicted Thursday that this year’s Atlantic hurricane season will produce a normal number of about nine to 15 tropical storms, with as many as four to eight of those becoming hurricanes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its initial outlook for the six-month storm season that officially begins June 1. One to three storms could become major hurricanes with top winds of 111 mph or higher.

This season isn’t expected to be as busy as last year’s above-average season, but officials warned coastal residents to stock up on hurricane supplies and form evacuation plans.

“That’s still a lot of activity. So just because we’re predicting a near normal season doesn’t mean anybody’s off the hook at all,” said Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.