Hurricane season is returning soon, and researchers at the University of Colorado have predicted that there will be four major hurricanes this season. The predictions do not suggest where they might make landfall, but it is expected to be an intense season because of the effect of Pacific cooling caused by the active La Nina formation in the central Pacific, and unusually warm waters in the south Atlantic.

When La Nina conditions exist in the Pacific and the south Atlantic is warm, as it is now, Atlantic hurricanes can be especially strong. The record for hurricane formation is 2005, when 28 tropical storms and hurricanes formed in the Atlantic. Last year, there were 14 tropical storms, six of which became hurricanes.

The prediction has been made by leading hurricane expert Dr. William Gray. He and his colleague, Phil Klotzbach, predicted Wednesday at the Bahamas Weather Conference on Grand Bahama Island that there will be 15 named storms in 2008, 8 of which will become hurricanes, with 4 reaching category 3 or higher, with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or more.

Officially, hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends on November 30.

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