FORT COLLINS, Colorado (AP) -- The 2003 Atlantic hurricane season is
expected to be twice as severe as last year, forecasters said.
"A wide variety of global indicators obtained and analyzed through
March continue to point to 2003 being an active Atlantic hurricane
season," Colorado State University professor William
Gray said Friday. "We expect Atlantic basin tropical cyclone activity
to be about 140 percent of average this year."
There were four hurricanes during the June-November 2002 hurricane
season. Gray and his associates predict eight for 2003, including
three intense hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher.
The Weather Research Center, a private forecasting company based in
Houston, predicts six hurricanes for the season.
Gray and his associates attribute the increase to the decline of El
Nino, which had suppressed hurricane activity last season. The
forecasters also cite very warm sea surface temperatures combining
with decreasing sea surface pressures in the north and tropical
Atlantic as factors.