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NOAA predicts more hurricane activity for 2007


ARLINGTON, Va.--There's a 75% chance that this year's hurricane season will be more active than normal, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday.

NOAA's prediction, which was issued at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Va., calls for the formation of between 13 and 17 named storms, seven to 10 of which will grow to hurricane strength. Three to five of those could become major hurricanes packing winds of at least 111 mph, NOAA predicts.

Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

NOAA's predictions track those of the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University at Fort Collins. In its April 3 forecast, the Colorado State team predicted that 17 named storms would form, nine of which would become hurricanes, of which five would grow into intense hurricanes. The Colorado State team will issue its final preseason forecast on May 31.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced the National Hurricane Research Initiative Act in the House of Representatives on Monday. The bill, which would provide up to $4.35 billion in funding for hurricane research, closely resembles a similar measure introduced in the Senate by Florida's senators earlier this year.