Hurricane Forecast Becomes More Extreme

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., June 21 (UPI) — The 2010 hurricane season may be more intense than previously predicted and will probably impact the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, said Monday.

Chief Hurricane Meteorologist Joe Bastardi said he has revised his original forecast from 16-18 tropical storms to 18-21, with at least eight impacts and six hurricanes. He said at least two or three of those hurricanes will have major landfalls.

Only in five years during 160 years of record keeping have 18 or more storms formed during a season, he said.

“The hurricane season should have several hits on the U.S. coast from July through September, mainly in the southeast and gulf,” Bastardi said.

Bastardi said at least two hurricanes and one tropical storm might move through the gulf oil spill area, with as many as three other tropical systems possibly tracking close enough to the spill to impact cleanup operations, as well as other oil rigs.

“Above-normal tropical activity should feature four named storms in July, with one or two impacting coastal areas,” said Bastardi. “August should have six named storms, with two or three impacts on the U.S. coastline.”

Bastardi said an extreme winter and now an above-normal hurricane season could place 2010 in the record books.

“It’s hard to fathom another 12-month period where such wild swings would make weather so significant for such a large area of the population,” he said.

Hurricane season began June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

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