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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 April 2007, 20:01 GMT 21:01 UK
Warning of bad hurricane season
Flooded New Orleans.  Image: AP
Hurricane Katrina killed about 1,500 people in 2005
Experts are again predicting a busy Atlantic hurricane season, with up to 17 named tropical storms forming - nine of which could become hurricanes.

At least one major storm is expected to make landfall in the US during the 1 June-30 November season, Colorado State University forecasters said.

Last year, leading forecasters wrongly predicted a bad hurricane season.

However the record-breaking 2005 season saw 15 hurricanes, including Katrina which devastated New Orleans.

Another forecaster, London-based Tropical Storm Risk, has likewise predicted 17 tropical storms, nine of them hurricanes, for the 2007 season.

'Very active season'

"We have increased our forecast for the 2007 hurricane season, largely due to the rapid dissipation of El Nino conditions," Colorado experts Philip Klotzbach and William Gray said in a statement.

"We are now calling for a very active hurricane season. Landfall probabilities for the 2007 hurricane season are well above their long-period averages," they said.

The researchers said the upsurge in storm activity could be anticipated because of an end of warm-water El Nino activity in the Pacific, which resulted in milder weather on the US Atlantic coast last year and a downturn in hurricane activity.

"Tropical and North Atlantic sea surface temperatures remain well above their long-period averages," they said.

The 2005 season broke records with a total of with 28 storms and 15 hurricanes. Hurricane Stan, which hit Guatemala, killed at least 2,000 people.

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