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More Hurricanes Forecast This Year

June 7, 2000

DENVER (AP) _ The La Nina phenomenon is expected to contribute to more severe storms during this year’s hurricane season than originally thought, according to one of the nation’s top hurricane forecasters.

William Gray and his colleagues at Colorado State University in Fort Collins have increased their earlier prediction for named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes by one each.

For the 2000 season, which runs June 1 though Nov. 30, Gray now predicts 12 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes that will have winds of at least 110 mph. The original predictions were announced in December.

The revision is being attributed to La Nina, a cooling weather pattern over Pacific Ocean waters near the equator.

``There has never been a case where the La Nina has remained as cold as at present,″ said Gray, an atmospheric science professor. ``Cold water does nothing to disrupt the formation of hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin,″ which consists of the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.

Colorado State’s 1999 forecast _ 14 named storms, nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes _ was one of the more accurate in recent years, as 12 named storms, eight hurricanes and five major hurricanes were recorded last year.

Gray and his team of researchers make their predictions based on global ocean currents and temperatures, wind patterns, rainfall and historical data.

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