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Hurricane forecaster predicts busy October

NOAA satellite image of Hurricane Rita as the Category 3 storm heads northwest toward the Texas and Louisiana borders
A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite image of Hurricane Rita taken on Sept. 23.NOAA via Reuters
/ Source: LiveScience

A longtime guru of hurricane forecasting said October is likely to be another busy month.

William Gray, a Colorado State University scientist who has been predicting seasonal hurricane activity for many years with remarkable accuracy, issued a statement Monday.

"We project that October will continue the trend of above-average activity that we have witnessed in the preceding four months of the hurricane season," Gray's team said.

The forecasters expect three named tropical storms, two hurricanes and one major hurricane during October.

The prediction covers the Atlantic Basin, including the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Compared to past full seasons, this year is the seventh busiest since 1950, and it does not end until Nov. 30.

This season had the busiest start ever, with 4 named storms by July 5. Warm sea surface temperatures fueled the monsters Katrina and Rita, and conditions remain ripe for more, other hurricane experts agree.

Deadly Hurricane Stan is the 18th named storm of the season.

The August update from NOAA, which oversees the National Hurricane Center, called for up to 21 named tropical storms. The busiest season on record was 1933, when 21 tropical storms developed in the Atlantic Basin.

Gray and his colleagues base their forecasts on the warmth of the ocean, global wind patterns and several other factors. The scientists said today they expect the 2005 season will finish at near-record levels.