Facts and figures about the 2007 hurricane season

Here's what's expected for this hurricane season, which officially stretches from June 1 through Nov. 30 in the Atlantic basin and from May 15 to Nov. 30 in the Pacific basin.

According to Colorado State University's Tropical Meteorology Dept., the forecast for the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season calls for 17 named storms, with nine of those storms becoming hurricanes, five of which will develop into major hurricanes (with sustained winds of 111 mph or higher).

Furthermore, the forecast said there is a 74% chance of a major hurricane making U.S. landfall, compared with the average of 52% over the past 100 years.

A forecast for the 2007 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season has not yet been released.

2006 recap

Last May, the Colorado State University team made the same forecast for 2006: 17 named storms, including nine hurricanes, five of them major ones. The forecast carried an 81% chance that at least one major hurricane would hit the U.S. In reality, there were 10 named storms, five hurricanes, two of them major, but none hit the U.S. Atlantic coast.

It was a different story in the Pacific region, which was predicted to be slower than normal. However, the region was more active than ever, with 18 named storms, 10 of which were hurricanes and six of them major.

Fortunately, most of the larger storms brushed Mexico's sparsely populated western coast, although the resorts in the Cabo San Lucas area did evacuate guests on several occasions as a precaution.

What's in a name?

An Australian meteorologist began giving womens names to tropical storms before the end of the 19th century. In 1953, the National Weather Service began using female names for storms. In 1979, the National Weather Service started using mens names, too.

The World Meteorological Organization uses six lists of names in its Atlantic and East Pacific basin rotations. A name is retired if a hurricane is very deadly or very costly. A total of 68 names have been retired from the Atlantic basin.

In 2005, the Greek alphabet was used for the first time because the names on the standard list had been exhausted. The Greek alphabet is used for overflow storms in both the Atlantic and East Pacific basins.

The official names for the 2007 hurricane season

Atlantic basin

Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dean, Erin, Felix, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Noel, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van, Wendy

East Pacific basin

Alvin, Barbara, Cosme, Dalila, Erick, Flossie, Gil, Henriette, Ivo, Juliette, Kiko, Lorena, Manuel, Narda, Octave, Priscilla, Raymond, Sonia, Tico, Velma, Wallis, Xina, York, Zelda

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