Forecasters: 9 to 15 storms this hurricane season

May 24, 2012, 3:31 PM

MIAMI (AP) – Federal forecasters predict there will be about nine to 15 storms during this year’s Atlantic hurricane season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its initial outlook Thursday for the six-month storm season that officially begins June 1.

The season got an early start when Tropical Storm Alberto formed last Saturday off South Carolina’s coast.

The agency predicts that this year’s total will include four to eight hurricanes. One to three of those could become major hurricanes.

This season marks the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew’s catastrophic landfall in South Florida as a Category 5 storm.

Last year marked the sixth consecutive year without the U.S. landfall of a major hurricane, which are classified as Category 3 storms with sustained winds of 111 mph or higher.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Forecasters: 9 to 15 storms this hurricane season