Hurricane Forecasters Stick to "Busy" 2008 Prediction

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Over the past hundred years, the likelihood of the East Coast being hit by a major hurricane has been about 50 percent.

Gray, who has been issuing long-range hurricane forecasts for decades, told National Geographic News in April that the summer of 2008 will continue a trend of above-average hurricane seasons that started in 1995.

The stormier summers have been due to ocean currents that increase the Atlantic's salt content, which in turn increases water temperatures.

The fluctuations are cyclical, with warming and cooling cycles typically lasting about 30 years.

Gray acknowledged, however, that CSU forecasters "haven't done too well with our forecasts for the last couple of seasons." (Read about last year's off-target forecasts.)

Gray and Klotzbach predicted 17 named storms for the 2007 season, but only 14 formed. A 15th storm formed in May 2007, several weeks before the official start of the season.

The lower-than-expected activity last year was caused by a high-pressure system that formed off the East Coast late in the season, Gray added.

Cape Verde

Keith Blackwell is a meteorologist at the Coastal Weather Research Center at the University of South Alabama in Mobile.

In April he told National Geographic News that he saw important indications that the summer of 2008 could be stormier than last year.

Blackwell noted at the time that water temperatures were well above normal off Cape Verde on the west coast of Africa.

Some of the worst hurricanes in history have started as storms off Cape Verde.

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