NOAA hurricane forecast ebbs a bit

ASSOCIATED PRESSAugust 9, 2013 

WASHINGTON -- This Atlantic hurricane season may not be quite as busy as federal forecasters once thought, but they still warn of an unusually active and potentially dangerous few months to come.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration updated its hurricane season forecast Thursday, trimming back the number of hurricanes expected this year to between six and nine. That's a couple less than predicted back in May.

The forecast calls for three to five hurricanes to be major with winds greater than 110 mph. The updated forecast also predicts 13 to 19 named storms this year. Both predictions are just one less than forecast three months ago.

The chance 2013 will be busier than normal remains at 70 percent. A normal year has 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major storms.

"Make no bones about it, those ranges indicate a lot of activity still to come," said lead seasonal hurricane forecaster Gerry Bell of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Md. "We're coming to the peak of hurricane season now."

Hurricane season starts in June and runs until the end of November, but peak hurricane season runs from mid-August to mid-October.

The last time a major hurricane made landfall in the United States was Wilma in 2005. That seven-and-a-half-year stretch is the longest on record. It's also the last time any size hurricane made a direct hit on Florida, which is also a record, said National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen.

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