The agency is prediction between 14 and 18 named storms in 2008, with seven to 10 becoming hurricanes and three to six of them being classified as "major" hurricanes.
In May, the agency forecast 12 to 16 named storms this season, with six to nine developing into hurricanes. Two to five could be major ones of Category 3 or higher with winds above 110 miles per hour (177 km per hour).
Although relatively little press has been given to the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, there have already been five tropical storms so far. NOAA says favorable oceanic and atmospheric conditions, warmer
This year, Bertha and Dolly were reported to reach hurricane strength with winds in excess of 74 mph (119 kph) before fading over the open
An average Atlantic hurricane season, says the NOAA, brings 11 tropical storms with six hurricanes, including two major hurricanes. The hurricane season officially started on June 1 and typically peaks between late August and mid-October.
NOAA, university and other forecast groups have called for active seasons during the past few years only to have little storm development. Only one minor storm reached the during the 2007 season and it escaped any impact in 2006.
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