Batten The Hatches!

Hurricane, Satellite generic story image, 020320, GD.
Colorado State University hurricane expert William Gray has revised his prediction for the 2002 Atlantic season, slightly backing off his December forecast.

Speaking at the National Hurricane Conference in Orlando, Fla., Gray announced there would be 12 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

Gray said the season continues to shape up as above-average. He said that while the forecast has been altered by one for each category, the season still shapes up as active.

The next prediction from Gray and his colleagues is scheduled for May 31, a day before the start of the hurricane season. There's another prediction slated for Aug. 7, and Gray said those forecasts should be more reliable.

In a related development, the nation's top emergency official said that since no hurricanes have struck America in more than two years, people were suffering from "hazard amnesia."

Joe Allbaugh, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said that in the two-and-a-half years since Hurricane Irene drenched South Florida, valuable knowledge has been forgotten.

"The lack of a major hurricane on the mainland ... means our national hurricane response infrastructure has not had its training, equipment or personnel tested," Allbaugh said. "The danger to any nation lucky enough to be prosperous, safe or at peace is always complacency, which we in emergency management could call 'hazard amnesia.'"