NOAA reduces hurricane forecast

By Gary Linnell

ProWEB Wire (Industry News)

U.S. government scientists today reduced their forecast for the 2010 Atlantic-Caribbean hurricane season but still foresee a very active year of eight to 12 hurricanes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said it now anticipates 14 to 20 tropical storms, with eight to 12 expected to strengthen into hurricanes.

Four to six of these storms are expected to become "major" hurricanes, which are defined as Category 3 or higher and can have winds of more than 110 mph.

In their previous forecast, NOAA had forecasted 14 to 23 tropical storms, with eight to 14 developing into hurricanes, and three to seven escalating into major hurricanes.

The revision comes as a result of a lower-than-expected number of storms during June and July.

So far, the 2010 season has seen just three tropical storms, with only one reaching hurricane strength.

According to Gerry Bell, the lead hurricane seasonal forecaster with NOAA's Climate Prediction Season, "We're still predicting a very active hurricane season, and it's very important that people understand that."