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Experts say hurricane season is far from over

Amid the unfolding disaster left behind by Hurricane Katrina, researchers say they expect still more storms over the next two months.
With a satellite photo showing Hurricane Katrina in the foreground, President Bush speaks during a briefing with government officials on damage from Katrina in Mobile, Ala., on Friday.Susan Walsh / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Amid the unfolding disaster left behind by Katrina, hurricane researchers said Friday that they expect still more storms over the next two months.

"The very active season we have seen to this point is far from over," Colorado State University researcher Philip Klotzbach said. "We expect that by the time the 2005 hurricane season is over, we will witness seasonal tropical cyclone activity at near-record levels."

The school's hurricane forecast team of Klotzbach and William Gray said there is a 43 percent chance that an intense hurricane will hit the U.S. coast in September, and a 15 percent chance in October. The long-term average is 27 percent in September and 6 percent in October.

The forecasters predicted that there would be five named storms — four of them hurricanes and two of those major — for September, traditionally the most active month for hurricanes. The team predicted three named storms, two hurricanes and one major hurricane in October.

The Atlantic hurricane season already has seen 13 named storms, including Maria, which formed Friday. Four storms became hurricanes. The 50-year average per season from 1950 to 2000 is 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 intense hurricanes.