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Active hurricane season on track


Jill Colton, staff writer

September 23, 2010 — The combination of record high ocean temperatures and the development of the climate phenomenon known as La Niņa is keeping the Atlantic hurricane season very active this year.

Aerial view of the catastrophic flooding by Hurricane Katrina - Courtesy Associated Press
Aerial view of the catastrophic flooding by Hurricane Katrina - Courtesy Associated Press

Just how active will this hurricane season continue to get?

Government forecasters are predicting it's on track to be as busy as the 2005 season, the year when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita tore through the same part of the Gulf Coast now dealing with one of the world's worst oil spills.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) lowered the outlook slightly from the report released in May, but it's still expected to be an above-normal season overall. The updated forecast called for 14 to 20 named tropical storms -- with peak season running from August to October.

Eight to 12 storms could become hurricanes and so far, four hurricanes have been major storms with wind gusts of 178 km/h or more.

Hurricane Alex devastated northern Mexico in June
Hurricane Alex devastated northern Mexico in June

Forecasters say that the atmospheric and oceanic conditions are conductive for hurricane formation, especially with La Niņa in the mix.

The Pacific Ocean phenomenon developed in July, reducing wind shear in the Atlantic and making it easier for storms to take shape.

Ocean temperatures are sky high at the moment as well. In fact, they're the warmest since 2005 when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ripped apart the Gulf Coast. Hurricane season officially ends November 30.

To make sure you're ready if a hurricane hits, check out our list on how to prepare for a hurricane.

With files from The Associated Press and Andrea Stockton

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