The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season officially begins Wednesday and so far all signs point to above-average activity.

But as the Palm Beach Post’s Eye On The Storm blog recently pointed out: all hurricane seasons are active, as attested by last year’s 19 named storms, 12 hurricanes and 5 major hurricanes.

That said, in its just-released pre-season forecast, London-based consortium Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) is sticking to its April prediction for 14 named storms, with seven to eight hurricanes and three to four intense hurricanes (Category 3 to 5).

TSR expects the 2011 season will see activity about 25 percent above the long-term (1950-2010) norm.

Just last week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted the 2011 season would see 12 to 18 named storms, of which six to 10 could become hurricanes and three to six major hurricanes.

The last time a major hurricane (Category 3-5) made landfall in the U.S. was in 2005, but it’s been only three years since Hurricane Ike, which ranks as the third most costly hurricane in U.S. history.

If you want to compare the views of the major forecasters, Guy Carpenter’s GCCapitalIdeas blog has a summary of the latest predictions.

Many, including Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project, will issue updated forecasts next week.

Check out I.I.I. facts and stats on hurricanes.

Oh, and take a minute to check out this recap of the 2010 hurricane season, courtesy of Discovery: