Fort Collins, Colo.- Colorado State University’s hurricane forecasters now predict this year's hurricane activity "will be slightly below the long-term," according to a revised forecast issued Friday.  The September 2006 forecast calls for 13 named Atlantic and Gulf Coast storms, five of which are projected to grow into hurricanes. That's a drop from the Aug. 3 forecast of 15 named storms-seven of which the team predicted would develop into hurricanes. "We now expect that the 2006 hurricane season will have slightly less hurricane activity than the long-term average," the university forecasters announced. "This is due to an unexpected increase in tropic Atlantic midlevel dryness (with large amounts of African dust) and a continued trend toward El Niño-like conditions in the eastern and central Pacific." Information obtained through 31 August 2006 shows that we have so far experienced only 18 percent of the average full season Net Tropical Cyclone (NTC) activity, said the forecasters, admitting “we significantly over-estimated August activity.” In an average year, 33 percent of the seasonal average NTC of 100 occurs before the end of August, they said. The forecast was released as Tropical Storm Ernesto, which was downgraded from hurricane status, caused heavy wind and rain to fall over much of the southeastern United States. Meanwhile, a Pacific hurricane named John threatened Mexico's Baja California area.

 Source: Colorado State University

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