Forecast downgraded

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OCT. 9 — A new report by researchers at ColoradoStateUniversity calls for two more named storms and one hurricane — but no major hurricanes — to form in the Atlantic basin before the season officially ends Nov. 1.

William Gray and Philip Klotzbach predict below-average hurricane activity this month, citing developing El Niño conditions in the central and eastern Pacific. The weather phenomenon El Niño is characterized by a warming of equatorial waters in the Pacific Ocean.

“Typically, El Niño condition put an early end to hurricane formation in the Atlantic basin,” said Gray in a statement. “This year El Niño has developed faster than almost anyone predicted.”

With El Niño conditions, hurricane activity in November is very rare, according to Gray.

So far the Atlantic basin has seen nine named storms and five hurricanes, including two major hurricanes with sustained winds of 111 mph or greater. With the observed activity through September, the report predicts a total of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes will form in the Atlantic this year.

The long-term average for the Atlantic season is 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 intense hurricanes per year.