Hurricane Forecaster Predicts "Very Active" Atlantic Season

Hurricane forecaster William Gray predicts a "very active" 2007 Atlantic hurricane season with 17 named storms.

Gray's team at Colorado State University says of the 17 storms, there will be five intense or major hurricanes. Gray says there's a 74 percent probability of a major hurricane hitting the U-S coast.

The team's forecasts are based on global oceanic and atmospheric conditions.

Last year, Gray's forecast was higher than what the Atlantic hurricane season produced. Gray's team says the reason was a late El Nino that altered oceanic conditions.

There were nine named Atlantic storms and five hurricanes, two of them major, in 2006. That was considered a "near normal" season. None of those hurricanes hit the Atlantic coast.

The devastating 2005 season had 28 named storms, 15 of them hurricanes. Four of those hurricanes hit the U-S coast, the worst among them Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and leveled parts of the Gulf Coast.