Forecasters predict ‘near-average’ hurricane season

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Forecasters predict ‘near-average’ hurricane season
(Photo: HO, AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo: HO, AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo: HO, AFP/Getty Images)

USA TODAY – Top meteorologists from Colorado State University forecast a near-average Atlantic hurricane season this year, predicting 12 tropical storms will form, with five becoming hurricanes.

A typical year, based on weather records dating to 1950, has 12 tropical storms, of which seven spin into hurricanes. A tropical storm contains sustained winds of 39 mph. It becomes a hurricane when winds reach 74 mph.

Meteorologists Philip Klotzbach and William Gray of Colorado State University’sTropical Meteorology Project released the forecast Wednesday. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, though storms sometimes form outside those dates.

Although El Niño, which tends to suppress Atlantic hurricane activity, is weakening, water in the North Atlantic Ocean is unusually cold, which could also suppress storm development.

Gray’s team was the first organization to issue seasonal hurricane forecasts back in 1984. This is the team’s 33rd forecast. It covers the Atlantic basin, which includes the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

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