More hurricanes and more bad ones than usual — that’s this year’s preseason prediction by the forecast group started by hurricane guru Bill Gray.

The Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University released the forecast Wednesday. It calls for:

18 named storms. (historic median, 12)

9 becoming hurricanes. (6.5)

4 becoming “major” hurricanes with winds more than 111 mph. (2).

The forecast also put the possibility of an East Coast landfall at 48 percent, above the 20th-century average of 31 percent.

The forecast is similar to one released earlier this week by The Weather Channel that calls for 16 named storms, nine hurricanes and five major hurricanes.

Early spring forecasts are notoriously uncertain because of changing weather patterns; The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration doesn’t release a federal forecast until late May.

The Atlantic basin has seen 19 named storms each of the last thee years. But it’s been seven years since a major hurricane made landfall in the United States — something that hasn’t happened before since record-keeping started.

The June-November hurricane season is a span when tropical cyclones are likely to form in the Atlantic, ocean-spawned storms that can kill and cause million of dollars damage.

In Charleston, the greatest threat of the worst storms tends to run from August through September.

Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744, @bopete on twitter or Bo Petersen Reporting on Facebook.