To get the hurricane outlook, meteorologists modeled atmospheric conditions into the future based on conditions in the ocean and atmosphere now. The most important predictor of hurricanes is surface water temperatures in the northwest Atlantic, says Crawford. Right now, these waters are warmer than normal. In fact, the ocean is about as warm as last year, which was an above-average year for hurricanes. “If you look at a map of ocean temperatures this year, it looks almost identical to last year,” says Crawford.