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FORT COLLINS, Colo.This year's Atlantic hurricane season should be considerably more active than average, according to a forecast issued last Tuesday by the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University.
The forecasters predict that 17 named storms will form in the Atlantic basin during this year's hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.
Nine of those will become hurricanes and five of those hurricanes will grow into major storms packing sustained winds of 111 mph or more, the forecasters said.
The long-term averages for tropical storm activity are 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 major hurricanes forming annually. Last year, only 10 named storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes formed--a significant drop from 2005's record activity.
El Nino conditions over the Pacific typically inhibit hurricane growth in the tropical Atlantic, said Phil Klotzbach, who now heads the project started by Bill Gray more than two decades ago, in statement announcing the predictions.
"However, we've seen El Nino conditions dissipate quite rapidly late this winter, so we do not think that's going to be an inhibiting factor. Also, we have warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures this year, which we've seen just about every year since 1995," Mr. Klotzbach said.
In the same statement, Mr. Gray noted that the Atlantic basin has experienced an upturn of major storms since 1995. "We think this upturn of major storms will continue for another 15 or 20 years," he said.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Risk in London also issued a prediction last Tuesday calling for an active hurricane season.
TSR predicted that 16.7 tropical storms will form during this year's hurricane season, with 9.2 growing to hurricane strength, and 4.2 of those hurricanes reaching intense status.