08 August 2006 16:53 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--The US hurricane centre on Tuesday reduced its expectations for the severity of the 2006 hurricane season but warned that the peak period for tropical activity has yet to come.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said conditions are ripe for 12-15 named storms originating in the Atlantic basin, with seven to nine becoming hurricanes. Three to four of those storms would reach Category 3 (winds of 111-130 mph) or higher, the weather administration said in a press conference.
Before the start of the hurricane season, NOAA predicted 13-16 named storms in the Atlantic, with eight to 10 becoming hurricanes and four to six reaching Category 3 or higher.
There are have been just three named storms so far in the 2006 hurricane season, which began in June and will continue through November. None of those storms reached hurricane status.
"This year's three named storms may pale in comparison to the record nine storms that formed through early August 2005, but conditions will be favourable for above-normal activity for the rest of this season - so we are not off the hook by any means," said NOAA administrator Conrad Lautenbacher
He said the busiest time for hurricane activity is from mid-August through October. “Storm development will be enhanced during the peak period and NOAA still expects the 2006 season to be above average,” he said.
The 40-year average number of storms for any given year is 11, the NOAA said. In a typical year, six become hurricanes while two reach major status of Category 3.
Last year was the busiest hurricane season on record with 28 named storms, 15 of them hurricanes. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita extensively damaged the US Gulf Coast petroleum and natural gas infrastructure and disrupted production at chemical plants in ?xml:namespace>
Last week, forecasters with
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