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New Hurricane Forecast Calls for Busy October

The <a href="/forcesofnature/hurricane_guide.html" class="captionlink"> busiest hurricane season on record</a> brought the <a href="/forcesofnature/ap_051017_wilma_update.html" class="captionlink">most intense</a> Atlantic storm ever recorded and ran <a href="/forcesofnature/051202_december_hurricane.html" class="captionlink">several days beyond</a> its official Nov. 30 end, while scientists provided the first solid evidence that global warming might be fueling <a href="/forcesofnature/ap_050731_hurricanes_stronger.html" class="captionlink">more powerful storms</a>. These were all big stories in and of themselves, yet none will stick with us like the memory of <a href="/php/multimedia/imagegallery/igviewer.php?imgid=384&gid=27&index=0" class="captionlink">Katrina</a>, the <a href="/forcesofnature/ap_050915_katrina_destruction.html" class="captionlink">most destructive storm</a> ever to strike the United States and a long-predicted nightmare for resident of New Orleans. Nature's wrath forced scientists and officials to assess preparedness for other <a href="/forcesofnature/top10_naturaldisasterthreats_us.html" class="captionlink">dramatic natural threats</a> the country could face.

Updated 12:15 p.m. ET

A longtime guru of hurricane forecasting said today that October is likely to be another busy month.

William Gray, a Colorado State University scientist who has been predicting seasonal hurricane activity for many years with remarkable accuracy, issue a statement today.

"We project that October will continue the trend of above-average activity that we have witnessed in the preceding four months of the hurricane season," Gray's team said.

The forecasters expect three named tropical storms, two hurricanes, one major hurricane during October.

The prediction covers the Atlantic Basin, including the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Compared to past full seasons, this year is the seventh busiest since 1950, and it does not end until Nov. 30.

This season had the busiest start ever, with 4 named storms by July 5. Warm sea surface temperatures fueled the monsters Katrina and Rita, and conditions remain ripe for more, other hurricane experts agree.

Tropical storm Stan, now in the Gulf of Mexico, is the 18th named storm of the season. It is expected to become a hurricane and strike Mexico this week.

The August update from NOAA, which oversees the National Hurricane Center, called for up to 21 named tropical storms. The busiest season on record was 1933, when 21 tropical storms developed in the Atlantic Basin.

Gray and his colleagues base their forecasts on the warmth of the ocean, global wind patterns and several other factors. The scientists said today they expect the 2005 season will finish at near-record levels.

The Names & Numbers Deadliest, costliest, busiest months, worst states, plus this year's storm names and more.

How & Where Hurricanes Form The science of monster storms.

Robert Roy Britt
Rob was a writer and editor at Space.com starting in 1999. He served as managing editor of Live Science at its launch in 2004. He is now Chief Content Officer overseeing media properties for the sites’ parent company, Purch. Prior to joining the company, Rob was an editor at The Star-Ledger in New Jersey, and in 1998 he was founder and editor of the science news website ExploreZone. He has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in California.