More tropical storms forecast

windU.S. meteorologists say they expect an above-average number of Atlantic basin hurricanes to develop during next year’s hurricane season. Meteorologists Philip Klotzbach and William Gray —
in the 27th annual early extended-range hurricane forecast issued by Colorado
State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project — predict 11-16 named storms
will develop, 6-8 of them hurricanes and 3-5 of the hurricanes to become major
hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or greater.

The team said its December early season forecast calls for a range of storms
since the report is based on Atlantic basin conditions that can change
substantially by the June 1 start of the hurricane season. Klotzbach and Gray
said they will issue specific numerical predictions in their next forecast
April 7.

“We foresee a somewhat above-average Atlantic basin hurricane season,” Gray
said. “We anticipate the current El Nino event to dissipate by the 2010
hurricane season and warm sea surface temperatures are likely to continue
being present in the tropical and North Atlantic during 2010 — conditions
that contribute to an above-average season.”