Atlantic hurricane season opens its books

MIAMI --- Welcome June -- the month of brides and weddings -- and the start of the six-month Atlantic hurricane season.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service have predicted an active season, a forecast echoed by Dr. William Gray, noted hurricane expert at Colorado State University.

Grays latest forecast calls for 15 tropical storms and eight hurricanes, four of which are expected to be Category 3 or higher, with wind speeds of 111 mph or more.

The first named storm of this season will be Arlene, followed by Bret, Cindy, Dennis, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katrina, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rita, Stan, Tammy, Vince, and Wilma.

The official hurricane season is June 1 through Nov. 30.

The 2004 season was especially harsh, with Florida and several Caribbean islands battered and damaged from four storms, the strongest of which was Ivan, which reached Category 5 status [winds over 174 mph].

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Gay Nagle Myers at [email protected].

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