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Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Thursday, 7 August 2008 18:00 UK

Rise in 2008 hurricanes predicted

Heavy rain near Houston
Edouard was the fifth tropical storm this season

The Atlantic hurricane season is set to be more active this year than initially predicted, with up to 10 hurricanes expected, US meteorologists say.

Between 14 and 18 named storms could be produced, with seven to 10 becoming hurricanes and three to six of them being classified as "major" hurricanes.

The figures are a slight increase on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's predictions in May.

Tropical storm Edouard hit Texas on Tuesday, the fifth storm this season.

The adjustment in predictions was the result of atmospheric and oceanic conditions across the Atlantic which favoured storm development - combined with a strong early season activity and the third most active July since 1886, the NOAA said.

An average Atlantic hurricane season, which ends in November, has 11 named storms, including six hurricanes and two major hurricanes, with the peak months running form August to October.

Edouard hit

Edouard, which made landfall between Galveston and Louisiana, brought heavy rains and winds of up to 65mph (100km/h) earlier this week.

HOW HURRICANES FORM
Sea surface temperatures above 26.5C (79.7F)
A pre-existing weather disturbance
Moisture in the atmosphere
Favourable conditions, such as light winds or weak wind shear

The near-hurricane strength storm weakened as it moved inland, with flooding the only remaining concern.

The governor of Texas declared 17 counties disaster areas, while a state of emergency was declared in Louisiana.

The storm was downgraded to a tropical depression as it moved north-west overland.


SEE ALSO
'Fewer hurricanes' as world warms
18 May 08 |  Science/Nature
Tropical Storm Edouard hits Texas
05 Aug 08 |  Americas
Storm relief sends oil below $120
04 Aug 08 |  Business
Tropical storm lashes Gulf Coast
24 Jul 08 |  Americas

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