Hurricane Forecast

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Colorado State University hurricane forecaster William Gray is predicting above-average hurricane activity in the Atlantic during 2007.

Gray's first forecast for next year predicts 14 named storms, including three major hurricanes and four other hurricanes.

But he and fellow researcher Philip Klotzbach say fewer hurricanes are likely to make landfall than in the record season of 2005 -- which had 15 hurricanes, including Katrina.

The team says there's a 64 percent chance of a major hurricane with sustained winds of 111 miles-per-hour or greater coming ashore.

The long-term average is 52 percent.

The 2006 season had nine named storms and five hurricanes, two of them major.

That was considered "near normal," but fell short of predictions by Gray and government scientists.

No hurricanes hit the U.S. Atlantic coast in 2006 -- only the eleventh time that's happened since 1945.

Gray's team says a late-developing El Nino contributed to the calmer 2006 season, but he says those conditions are likely to dissipate before next season.