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CSU hurricane forecasters lower 2007 estimate


FORT COLLINS, Colo.--The Colorado State University hurricane forecasting team has lowered its 2007 hurricane estimate to eight for this year's Atlantic hurricane season from the nine forecast on May 31, the team announced Friday.

The team also reduced its estimate of named Atlantic and Gulf Coast storms to 15 from 17 forecast in May. The number of intense hurricanes predicted by the team dropped to 4 from 5 forecast in May.

"We have lowered our forecast from our early April and late May predictions due to slightly less favorable conditions in the tropical Atlantic," according to the team's forecast. "Sea-surface temperature anomalies have cooled across the tropical Atlantic in recent weeks, and there have been several significant dust outbreaks from Africa, signifying a generally stable air mass over the tropical Atlantic." The team also expects La Nina conditions to be either cool neutral or weak.

Despite the scaling back, the team still expects the season to feature higher-than-average hurricane activity. The average storm activity for the period 1950-2000 stands at 9.6 named storms per year, 5.9 of which grew to hurricane strength.

The team will issue its next forecast on Sept. 4.