Forecasters raise Atlantic hurricane outlook
View of the beach in Tulum, Mexico, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012, as Tropical Storm Ernesto brings the threat of hurricane-force winds and torrential rains to the Caribbean coast. / AP Photo/Israel Leal
(CBS/AP) MIAMI - U.S. forecasters are raising their estimate of potential storms in the remainder of the Atlantic hurricane season, which enters its peak period this month.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its updated forecast Thursday. Forecasters say wind patterns conducive to storm formation and warmer-than-normal sea temperatures mean chances are higher for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.
"We have a long way to go until the end of the season, and we shouldn't let our guard down," said Laura Furgione, acting director of NOAA's National Weather Service, in a press release. "Hurricanes often bring dangerous inland flooding as we saw a year ago in the Northeast with Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Even people who live hundreds of miles from the coast need to remain vigilant through the remainder of the season."
NOAA forecasters say they expect a total of 12 to 17 tropical storms, with as many as five to eight hurricanes, for the season from June 1 to Nov. 30. Two to three of storms could become major hurricanes.
So far this year there have been four tropical storms and two hurricanes.
In May, forecasters had predicted nine to 15 tropical storms, with as many as four to eight storms strengthening into hurricanes.
Based on a 30-year average, a normal Atlantic hurricane season sees 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes, the NOAA said.
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