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NOAA lowers hurricane predictions

Above normal season still expected.

BY HEATHER MOYER | MIAMI | August 9, 2007

Hurricane predictions for the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season were revised slightly downward Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with forecasters calling for 13 to 16 named storms, seven to nine of which will become hurricanes.

The agency in May had forecast 13 to 17 named storms with seven to 10 of those becoming hurricanes.

The center held to its forecast of three to five major hurricanes and an above-normal season.

El Nino/La Nina conditions were cited in the adjustments.

"Most of the atmospheric and oceanic conditions have developed as expected, and are consistent with those predicted in May," said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center. "The biggest wild card in the May outlook was whether or not La Nina would form, and if so, how strong it would be.

The latest forecast "indicates a slightly greater than 50 percent probability that La Nina will form during the peak of the hurricane season," Bell said. "But more importantly, we are already observing wind patterns similar to those created by La Nina across the tropical Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea that encourage tropical cyclone development. The conditions are ripe for an above-normal season."

The Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project last week lowered its hurricane predictions, also citing El Nino/La Nina conditions. It also stuck with its original call for an active season.

The 2007 season has already seen three named storms - Andrea, Barry and Chantal.

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Related Links:

NOAA Climate Prediction Center

National Hurricane Center

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