More Hurricanes Predicted in 2007

Researchers say this year's hurricane season figures to be much more active than normal.

The U.S. hurricane season this year will be significantly more active than the average year, according to a forecast Tuesday from Colorado State University researchers. The forecast predicts 17 named storms, including nine hurricanes, of which five will reach Category 3, 4 or 5.

Those numbers would be up considerably from 2006, when the Atlantic hurricane season included 10 tropical storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes. In 2005, the most active hurricane season on record, 28 named storms formed, including 15 hurricanes and seven major hurricanes.

The researchers raised their prediction from the December forecast because of El Nino's "rapid dissipation" in recent months.

The forecast also puts landfall probabilities well above average. The probability of a strike along the U.S. East Coast is 50%, as opposed to last century's average of 31%. The entire U.S. coastline faces a 74% chance of hurricane landfall, the forecast predicts.

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