Residents along the Eastern seaboard and Gulf Coast should expect an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season and begin to take precautions, federal researchers said in their 2004 prediction.
The outlook for the season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, is for 12 to 15 tropical storms, with six to eight of those becoming hurricanes. Two to four of those could become major hurricanes.
The "outlook indicates a 50 percent probability of an above-normal season, a 40 percent probability of a near-normal season and only a 10 percent chance of a below-normal season,” said National Weather Service Director David Johnson.
The prediction reflects a likely continuation of above-normal storm activity that began in 1995, researchers said.
National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield urged communities to prepare now. "Preparedness is planning in advance by every city, every business, every family and every individual, and then putting those plans into action if a hurricane threatens landfall near you,” Mayfield said in a statement.
In the central Pacific, federal forecasters predict four to five tropical cyclones, a typical number for that area.
The full prediction is online at www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/outlooks/hurricane.html.