Colorado State Slightly Lowers '09 Atlantic Hurricane Forecast

NEW YORK (Dow Jones Newswires), Aug. 4, 2009

Colorado State University hurricane researchers Tuesday revised their 2009 Atlantic hurricane forecast slightly lower.

The researchers now expect 10 named storms and four hurricanes in the Atlantic basin between June 1 and Nov. 30. Two of the hurricanes are expected to be major, with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.

The research team had previously forecast 11 named storms and five hurricanes, two of them major.

The long-term average hurricane season sees 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 major hurricanes.

The researchers noted the development over the past couple of months of an El Nino event, whereby the waters of the equatorial Pacific Ocean warm unusually - broadly affecting weather worldwide, including suppressing Atlantic hurricane activity.

"These conditions are expected to intensify to a moderate El Nino over the next few months," said forecaster William Gray, in a press release. "El Nino events tend to be associated with increased levels of vertical wind shear and decreased levels of Atlantic hurricane activity."

The researchers also said the probability of a major hurricane making landfall on various parts of the U.S. coast stood at 46%, compared with the last-century average of 52%, with a 26% chance of a landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast, where much of the nation's energy infrastructure is located.  

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