It's been a quiet hurricane season so far for New Jersey but that could change, according to the National Hurricane Center's Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook.

The Hurricane Center said there is a 70 percent chance that this will be the busiest hurricane season in the Atlantic since 2012. The outlook anticipates as many as 17 named storms to develop, with five to eight of them becoming hurricanes — two to four of them major ones.

State climatologist David Robinson says it's hard to tell what this means for New Jersey.

"That's not the purpose of these long range outlooks. They're just to give a sense of how active things will be in the Atlantic and Caribbean basins. They don't tell you where the storms are going to go and when they're going to form," Robinson explained.

“We’ve raised the numbers because some conditions now in place are indicative of a more active hurricane season, such as El Niño ending, weaker vertical wind shear and weaker trade winds over the central tropical Atlantic, and a stronger west African monsoon,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

There have been five named storms this year so far including two hurricanes (Alex and Earl). Four made landfall: Bonnie in South Carolina, Colin in western Florida, Danielle in eastern Mexico, and Earl in Belize and Mexico.

Robinson said it all it takes is one event to create havoc. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 caused heavy damage to South Florida during an otherwise quiet season.

"You should never let up your guard. Always be prepared to take action should a storm threaten."

Robinson said New Jersey has gone a very long time without a major hurricane strike.

"Sandy wasn't even a hurricane when it made landfall. It was an enormous sized storm, which was packed with a lot of energy, but it was distributed over a broad area. Hopefully, that won't lead people to be complacent about being prepared."

Sign up for the WPG Talk Radio 104.1 Newsletter

Get South Jersey news and information e-mailed to you every week.