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Hurricane season to heat up, says NOAA

AUG. 10 - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently announced that it has increased the number of projected storms for the 2005 hurricane season.

In a statement on its Web site, NOAA reports it expects 11 to 14 tropical storms between August and November. It says that seven to nine of those storms could become hurricanes, with three to five of those possibly becoming major hurricanes.

“The tropics are only going to get busier as we enter the peak of the season,” David L. Johnson, director of the NOAA National Weather Service, says in the statement. “This may well be one of the most active Atlantic hurricane seasons on record, and will be the ninth above-normal Atlantic hurricane season in the last 11 years.”

The statement says that atmospheric and oceanic conditions that favor an active hurricane season, like warmer-than-normal sea-surface temperatures and low wind shear, are now in place. The combination of these conditions, according to the statement, has been known to make for increased tropical storm activity over approximately 20- to 30-year cycles. NOAA expects above-normal seasons to continue for another decade or more.

In total, NOAA says this season will produce 18 to 21 tropical storms, with a nine to 11 becoming hurricanes. An average Atlantic hurricane season, the statement says, produces 10 named storms of which six become hurricanes.

Jason Fell