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. US Experts Predict Nine Atlantic Hurricanes This Season

9 hurricanes and 17 syorms predicted for the next few months.
by Staff Writers
Miami (AFP) May 31, 2007
New estimates released Thursday on the eve of the start of hurricane season here predicted nine hurricanes could form in the Atlantic Ocean during the coming months. "We estimate that 2007 will have about nine hurricanes (average is 5.9)," said the study from Colorado University weather experts Philip Klotzbach and William Gray.

They added they expected to see some 17 named storms during the season which starts June 1 and ends November 30, and said there was a 140 percent probability of an Atlantic hurricane hitting the United States.

Last week US forecasters said as many as 10 hurricanes could form in the Atlantic Ocean this year, including five that could turn into major hurricanes.

And they urged people living in hurricane-prone regions to ensure they are ready for what is expected to be an active storm season.

"Now is the time to update your hurricane plan, not when the storm is bearing down on you," said Bill Proenza, who heads the Miami-based National Hurricane Center.

Much depends on whether the weather phenomenon known La Nina develops and how strong it will be.

"If La Nina develops, storm activity will likely be in the upper end of the predicted range, or perhaps even higher depending on how strong La Nina becomes," said Gerry Bell, the lead hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center.

Last year saw the formation of the opposite phenomenon, known as El Nino, which created a hostile environment for the formation of Atlantic storms.

El Nino, which warms Pacific waters, tends to lead to a strengthening of westerly upper level winds that disrupt tropical cyclones. During La Nina, which cools Pacific waters, the westerly winds weaken, allowing hurricanes to form and strengthen.

"We expect either cool neutral or weak-to-moderate La Nina conditions to be present during the upcoming hurricane season," said Klotzbach and Gray in their statement.

The year 2005 broke all records with the formation of some 28 storms including 15 hurricanes including Katrina which ravaged New Orleans killing some 1,500 people, and Stan which left 2,000 people dead in Guatemala.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Putin Says No Link Between Energy And Foreign Policy
Moscow (RIA Novosti) May 31, 2007
Russia's president said Thursday his country did not link its energy policy with political cooperation with its partners. Vladimir Putin told a news conference following talks with his Greek counterpart, Karolos Papoulias, "Our position is open, absolutely transparent and market-based for all our partners, regardless of current political relations."

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