With six weeks to go before the dreaded "H word" returns to the Weather Channel, one team of forecasters released its long-range prediction for the six-month Atlantic hurricane season.

It's not looking good.

Rising water temperatures in the Atlantic will bring an "above-average season" of 15 named storms, eight of which will become hurricanes, according to Colorado State University scientists Philip Klotzback and William Gray. Four will become major hurricanes, they said.

And that's not all the bad news. The forecasters said that there is a better-than-average chance that at least one major hurricane will hit the U.S.

Although last year's forecast by the Colorado team was way off (there was far less storm activity than predicted), Klotzbach said that "busted forecasts drive us to explain the reason for the failure. It's the nature of seasonal forecasting to sometimes be wrong."

The National Hurricane Center's seasonal outlook will be released in late May.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI