US forecasters predict 9 to 15 hurricanes this season

Posted on: 5:26 pm, May 24, 2012, by

(Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

MIAMI — U.S. forecasters predicted Thursday that this year’s Atlantic hurricane season would produce a normal number of about nine to 15 tropical storms, with as many as four to eight of those becoming hurricanes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its initial outlook for the six-month storm season that officially begins June 1.

One to three storms could become major hurricanes with top winds of 111 mph (178 kph) or higher.

Though this season isn’t expected to be as busy as last year’s above-average season, federal officials warned coastal residents to start stocking up on hurricane supplies and forming evacuation plans anyway.

“That’s still a lot of activity. So just because we’re predicting a near normal season doesn’t mean anybody’s off the hook at all,” said Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

Source: The Associated Press

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