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Atlantic Ocean surface temperatures are not as high asexpected this hurricane season, and forecasters have reducedthe probable number of Atlantic hurricanes from nine to six.The probability of an intense hurricane making landfall inthe US this year is 73%. Normally, this is 52%. The EastCoast is more likely than the Gulf Coast to be struck,according to hurricane experts. But higher-than-normal water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico mean that if a well-organized storm should enter this area, it could become intense. Nevertheless, Phillip Klotzbach, the lead forecaster forColorado State University's hurricane research team saysthat another Katrina-like hurricane this year is no morethan a remote possibility. We are seeing the reason withTropical Storm Chris, which disintegrated off the coast ofHispaniola and did not track into the Gulf of Mexico at all.

Meteorologists offer no explanation for reduced watertemperatures in the Atlantic, but they could be due to themassive melt of ice that is taking place in the Arctic,flooding the whole of the North Atlantic with colder thannormal water, but in the long run meaning that much warmerconditions will prevail.

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