Hurricane Forecaster Still Expects Active Season

Researchers say the 2006 hurricane season in the Atlantic will be active, but fewer major storms are likely to make landfall than last year.

An updated forecast, from a team led by William Gray with Colorado State University, calls for 17 named storms between June 1 and November 30.

The team says nine storms are expected to become hurricanes, and five of those are expected to develop into major hurricanes with sustained winds of 111 miles-per-hour or greater. Those predictions are unchanged from April.

Last year, the Atlantic had 28 named storms, 15 hurricanes and seven major hurricanes. Long-term averages are just under ten named storms, six hurricanes and two intense hurricanes.

Gray, who has headed the hurricane forecast team for 22 years, says Atlantic hurricane seasons are likely to be active for 15 to 20 more years but another season as busy as 2004 and 2005 is statistically unlikely.