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Active Hurricane Season Predicted for 2006

Forecasters expect another busy Atlantic hurricane season this year, with 17 named storms but not as many intense storms striking land as last year.

The 2005 season was the most destructive in recorded history, with 27 named storms and 14 hurricanes, including Katrina, which devastated Louisiana and Mississippi and killed more than 1,300 people.

This year's hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, is likely to have nine hurricanes, five of them intense, according to Colorado State University researchers led by William Gray, who has been predicting hurricane activity for 22 years.

"Even though we expect to see the current active period of Atlantic major hurricane activity to continue for another 15-20 years, it is statistically unlikely that the coming 2006-2007 hurricane seasons, or the seasons that follow, will have the number of major hurricane U.S. landfall events as we have seen in 2004-2005," Gray said.

Before the start of the 2005 season, Gray's team had predicted 13 named storms, including seven hurricanes, three of them major.

For 2006, team predicts an 81 percent probability that at least one major hurricane will make landfall along the U.S. coastline, and a 47 percent probability a major hurricane will hit the Gulf Coast between the Florida Panhandle and Brownsville, Texas.