Zeta still hanging around, keeping '05 hurricane season alive

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MIAMI -- Tropical Storm Zeta continued to meander around the mid-Atlantic as she has since forming on Dec. 30 as the 27th named storm in a record-breaking season that officially ended Nov. 30.

An advisory from the National Hurricane Center on Jan. 5 summed up just how its storm-weary forecasters felt about Zeta: Tropical storm Zeta shows signs of weakening. Its about time.

At no time has Zeta posed a threat to any landmass, and her location on Jan. 5 -- more than 1,265 miles east of the Caribbeans Leeward Islands -- was pretty much where it had been for a week.

Adios, Zeta. We need a little time to prepare for the 2006 season, which officially runs June 1 through Nov. 30, although any storms generated prior to June 1 count towards the 2006 season total.

In their first prediction back in December, hurricane experts William Gray and Philip Klotzbach of Colorado State University predicted that this year's Atlantic hurricane season could see 17 named storms, nine of them hurricanes and five of those are expected to be intense.

The experts also predicted that the probability of a Category 3 or higher storm making landfall in the Caribbean "is above average. The chance of a strong hurricane hitting the U.S. coastline is expected to be 81%, up from an average of 52% for the past century."

We can only wait and see.

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

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