San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Atlantic could whip up eight hurricanes in 2010

The Atlantic could whip up as many as eight hurricanes this coming hurricane season from June through November, an above-average tally, according to a revised prediction by a U.S.-based Colorado State University forecast team.

The new forecast came Wednesday from the leading research team, led by forecast pioneer William Gray, after its earlier prediction in December that foresaw an “above-average” season producing more than six hurricanes.

The new assessment also sees as many as 15 named tropical storms smacking the Atlantic, while half of the predicted hurricanes are expected to be “major,” with winds of more 170 kilometers per hour.

This year´s expectedly hectic hurricane season will follow a mostly quiet one: the season that ended on November 30, 2009, produced only nine storms and three hurricanes. The National Hurricane Center, in the U.S. city of Miami, Florida, registered 2009 as the quietest Atlantic storm season since 1997.

In Costa Rica, the transition from El Niño to the La Niña phenomenon will complicate matters: the Pacific rainy season – already said to be under way on the southern Pacific coast – likely will be more severe while there could be less rain in the Caribbean region and the Northern Zone, according to the National Meteorological Institute.

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