Active hurricane season predicted

| 5/22/2007

With this year’s hurricane season officially set to start June 1, two leading forecasters are predicting a more-active-than-normal season.

Forecasters at Colorado State University expect 17 named storms. Of those storms, the group predicts nine to hit hurricane level, with five likely to develop into Category 3, 4, or 5 hurricanes.

The group also predicts a 75-percent chance that at least one of those hurricanes will hit land during the 2007 season.

Residents on the Florida peninsula face a 50-percent chance a hurricane will hit, according to the forecast. Gulf Coast residents don’t have much better odds – there’s a 49-percent chance one could hit there according to the Colorado State forecast.

The head forecaster at AccuWeather predicts up to 14 named storms, with six or seven reaching hurricane strength.

No hurricanes made landfall along the U.S. coastline in 2006.

Weather experts say last year’s hurricane season turned out milder than expected because a warm-water El Nino developed off the Pacific coast and had a dampening effect on tropical storm development.