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Quiet Atlantic Hurricane Season Predicted

Hurricane Irene

Preliminary forecasts predict a fairly quiet hurricane season along the Atlantic coast. 

Researchers at Colorado State University expect nine named storms this year.  They say three of those will likely become hurricanes.  The average season produces about six hurricanes. 

Atmospheric science professor Phil Klotzbach says a strong El Niño in the Pacific should dampen hurricane conditions in the Atlantic.

"What that does is it generates warmer than normal water in central and eastern tropical Pacific, which then increases upper level westerly winds in the Atlantic, which basically shears the storms apart that are trying to form off the coast of Africa," Klotzbach explains.

Klotzbach says the prediction is based on decades of data, but is not an exact science.  Colorado State forecasters called for nine hurricanes last year, but only two developed.  Klotzbach says he's more confident about this year's prediction because of historical trends.

The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1 and lasts through November 30.

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
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