Hurricane Team Now Predicting Average Season

Hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University have scaled back their prediction for the Atlantic and are now calling for an average season with 12 named storms, including six hurricanes, two of them major.

In December, researchers William Gray and Phil Klotzbach predicted an above-average season with 14 named storms with seven hurricanes -- three major.

Gray said Tuesday the forecast was dialed down because of improved chances of El Nino conditions, which suppress hurricane formation.

This is Gray's 26th year of forecasting hurricanes. His predictions are watched closely by emergency responders and others, but many say long-range forecasts have little practical value beyond focusing public attention on the dangers.

The season runs June 1-Nov. 30.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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