US forecasters predict busy 2011 hurricane season
Last year's record hurricane season will be followed by another unusually busy one, with 16 named storms expected this year, US weather forecasters predicted on Wednesday.
Forecasters at Colorado State University are predicting that nine of the named storms that form in the Atlantic will develop into hurricanes.
"We expect that anomalously warm tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures combined with neutral tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures will contribute to an active season," said Phil Klotzbach of CSU's Tropical Meteorology Project.
Weather-watchers at CSU said the unusually busy hurricane activity expected this year, like last year's record storm season, is caused by the arrival of La Nina, the atmospheric force that promotes hurricane formation.
La Nina is associated with cooler than normal waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
The 2010 Atlantic storm season was the third busiest on record, with 19 named tropical storms over the Americas and the Caribbean during the June 1 through November 30 season, 12 of which became hurricanes.
Last year's hurricanes contributed to epic flooding and mudslides throughout Central and South America, causing massive damage and extensive loss of life.
(c) 2011 AFP