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POSTED: May 13, 2008 5:00 a.m.
BAHAMAS -- The Colorado State University forecast team upgraded its early season forecast Friday at the Bahamas Weather Conference, saying the U.S. Atlantic basin will likely experience a well above-average hurricane season.
"Current oceanic and atmospheric trends indicate that we will likely have an active Atlantic basin hurricane season," said William Gray, who is beginning his 25th year forecasting hurricanes at Colorado State.
The team's forecast now anticipates 15 named storms forming in the Atlantic between June 1 and Nov. 30. Eight of the storms are predicted to become hurricanes, and of those eight, four are expected to develop into intense or major hurricanes (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 mph or greater. Long-term averages are 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 intense hurricanes per year.
The entire report is available on the Web at http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu.
"Based on our latest forecast, the probability of a major hurricane making landfall along the U.S. coastline is 69 percent compared with the last-century average of 52 percent," said Phil Klotzbach of team. "We are calling for a very active hurricane season this year, but not as active as the 2004 and 2005 seasons."
"The United States was quite fortunate over the last two years in that we had only one hurricane landfall (Humberto - 2007)," Klotzbach said. "None of the four major hurricanes that formed in 2006 and 2007 made U.S. landfall."
The Colorado State team has cautioned against reading too much into the 2004 and 2005 seasons when Florida and the Gulf Coast were ravaged by four landfalling hurricanes each year. Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne caused devastating damage in 2004 followed by Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma in 2005.
"The activity of these two years was unusual, but within the natural bounds of hurricane variation," Gray said.
 

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