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Forecaster Sees 'Active' 2011 Hurricane Season

The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season isn't likely to produce as many tropical storms as 2010 but will still be "active," and the storms it creates will probably cause more trouble for the U.S. coastline than last year, according to AccuWeather.com forecasters.

"It looks like we're going to have more impact on the mainland of the U.S. coming up this year compared to last year," said AccuWeather.com hurricane forecaster Paul Pastelok. "We had a lot of storms last year, but not a lot of impact [on the U.S.]."

AccuWeather.com's extended forecast calls for 15 named storms -- including eight hurricanes, three of them intense -- to form in the Atlantic Basin this year. A total of 19 named storms formed in 2010, with 12 of them becoming hurricanes, including five intense hurricanes. The long-term (1950-2009) averages for the Atlantic hurricane season are 10 named storms, six hurricanes and two intense hurricanes; the 1995-2009 averages are 14, eight and four, respectively.

WSI Corp. has forecast a more intense hurricane season, predicting 17 named storms, including nine hurricanes, five of them intense, to form in the Atlantic Basin this year (see Daily GPI, Dec. 9, 2010).

Despite being one of the busiest hurricane seasons in years, 2010 brought relatively little damage to the U.S. mainland and energy interests in the Gulf of Mexico (see Daily GPI, Dec. 1, 2010). Short-term weather patterns, including the position of the jet stream and the tendency of last year's tropical storms to form in the extreme eastern Atlantic, helped to keep many of 2010's storms away from the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).

The number of named storms that formed in the Atlantic Basin last year tied with the 1887 and 1995 hurricane seasons for third highest on record, and the number of hurricanes tied 1969 for second highest on record, according to NOAA.

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