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NOAA forecasters call for more named storms this year than previously predicted

As the remnants of Tropical Storm Emily battered Haiti, hurricane forecasters are predicting more named storms than expected this season.

The forecast now calls for 14 to 19 named storms, seven to 10 hurricanes, and three to five major hurricanes, with winds of at least 111 mph, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center announced Thursday.

The forecast increases what was already expected to be a busier-than-average season, which started June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

In May, the Climate Prediction Center predicted 12 to 18 named storms in the Atlantic basin, with six to 10 hurricanes, and three to six major hurricanes.

"The atmosphere and Atlantic Ocean are primed for high hurricane activity during August through October," said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center, in a statement. "Storms through October will form more frequently and become more intense than we've seen so far this season."

Forecasters point to an era of heightened Atlantic hurricane activity, the third-highest temperatures on record in the Atlantic and the possible redevelopment of La Niña as reasons for the more active season. Forecasters also said reduced wind shear and lower air pressure across the tropical Atlantic also support a more active season.

Although the 2011 hurricane season, so far, and the 2010 hurricane season have seen an above-average number of named storms, the United States hasn't been hit by a hurricane since Ike in 2008.

NOAA forecasters call for more named storms this year than previously predicted 08/04/11 [Last modified: Friday, August 5, 2011 6:31am]
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