State College, Pa. AccuWeather.com reports the start to the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season has been average so far with six named tropical systems. However, with AccuWeather.com Chief Hurricane Expert Joe Bastardi still predicting a total of 18 to 21 named storms in the Atlantic basin, the season still has a long way to go.

Over the next few weeks, hurricanes and tropical storms are expected to start having a bigger impact on the U.S. According to the AccuWeather.com Tropical Forecast Team, "We are on the verge of a long and active season that may last until December 1."

Hurricane season officially spans June 1 to Nov. 30. Expert Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity said Tuesday, "It would not surprise me that instead of predicting snow on Thanksgiving, we will still be dealing with tropical systems. It's the nature of the type of season we are in."

Bastardi is predicting a warm fall for the Eastern part of the country, with an abrupt shift into winter by late November. According to Margusity, warm falls in the East are notorious for late-season tropical storms. Therefore, this idea of a warm fall supports the prediction that this year's hurricane season will extend longer than normal with storms stacking up toward the end.

Looking strictly at the numbers, there have already been four named storms: Alex, Bonnie, Colin and Danielle. A system currently forming over the eastern Atlantic will soon be the fifth and acquire the name Earl.

So with five named systems by the end of August, it will take 13 more to reach Bastardi's forecast total. There are about 15 weeks left in the season, so it would only take an average of one named storm per week through the end of November to bring the total number of named storms up to 18 or higher.

What is more important than the numbers, however, is how much of an impact these future storms have on lives and property. As AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Mark Mancuso put it, it only takes one bad storm in your area to make it the worst hurricane season ever.

Bastardi still expects eight tropical systems to affect the U.S. this season, with five or six of those being hurricanes. Of those five or six hurricanes, he predicts two to be major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher).

Hurricane Alex made landfall over Mexico earlier this season and brought tropical storm conditions to South Texas. Shortly after, Bonnie affected Florida with minimal tropical storm conditions. Therefore, there have been two storms to affect the U.S. thus far. According to Bastardi, there could be another six to come, and many of those could be hurricanes.