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Hurricane forecaster still sees busy season

Despite a slow start, this still could be a busy hurricane season, forecaster William Gray says.

In his final update for the season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, Gray of Colorado State University predicted there will be 14 named storms, nine hurricanes and four intense hurricanes.

Gray's research team said there is a 54 percent chance at least one storm will hit the U.S. East Coast, and a 40 percent chance for the Gulf Coast.

"We have a lot of global circulation features that are very favorable for a rather active year," Gray said: warmer-than-normal water in the Atlantic, above-average rain in West Africa, and a persistent La Nina, the mass of cold water in the Pacific that is associated with stronger Atlantic storms.

Experts at the National Hurricane Center at Miami agreed.

"Everything we're looking at says it's going to be an active season," said Max Mayfield, the center's deputy director. "And it's going to be in a very compressed period."

Only one named storm, Arlene, has formed so far, roaming harmlessly through the Atlantic in June.

Nurse killed while going

to aid of crash victims

BRADENTON _ A 37-year-old nurse was killed and a man was injured early Friday when they were hit by a car after rushing from a restaurant to help the victims of a traffic accident.

The first accident at 2:24 a.m. occurred when a car was hit while trying to make a left turn onto State Road 41 from a shopping center, Lt. Larry Leinhauser of Manatee County's Emergency Medical Services said. Juanita Lavero and Brian Francis Wilson went to help and were hit by a car driven by Nicole Staletz, 24.

Six others were injured in the accidents, including Staletz.

Wilson was being evaluated Friday at Bayfront Medical Center. Staletz was treated and released.

Florida Highway Patrol officials said an investigation continues.

_ Compiled from wire reports

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