Hurricane Matthew Isle of Palms (copy)

David Reedy of North Carolina wades in surging ocean water from Hurricane Matthew in 2016 during low tide on Isle of Palms. The waves bowled over boardwalks at high tide and continued eroding sand dunes as the tide subsided. File/Andrew Knapp/Staff

A leading hurricane researcher has called for an even quieter hurricane season than he and others did as recently as a month ago.

Phil Klotzbach of the Tropical Meteorology Project predicted on Monday that only one major hurricane will form among only four hurricanes overall.

A major hurricane is a devastating storm with winds at least 111 mph. Klotzbach called for 11 named storms, or storms that reach at least minimal tropical storm strength with winds near 40 mph.

The project is considered the benchmark of the science.

"The tropical and subtropical Atlantic is currently much colder than normal," Klotzbach said. That and other climate factors are expected to interfere with storms trying to form in the Atlantic basin, where the worst of them emerge.

In contrast, the ocean off South Carolina is hot and that might be the worst immediate threat for the state's coast. It heightens the chance that a tropical storm or hurricane could spin up from thunderstorms  rolling off the beach. Hurricane Gaston in 2004 spun up in similar conditions.

Back in June, the range of predictions among other hurricane season forecasters were: 10-18 named storms, 5-11 becoming hurricanes and 1-5 becoming major hurricanes. At that time, Klotzbach became the first of the forecasters to down-scale his earlier predictions, calling for 13 named storms, six becoming hurricanes and two becoming major hurricanes.

The historic average for a season is 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. But some climatologists suggest that storms might be getting more severe in the warming seas.

Reach Bo Petersen Reporter at Facebook, @bopete on Twitter or 1-843-937-5744.

Science and environment reporter. Author of Washing Our Hands in the Clouds.