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Forecasters Call for Another Busy Hurricane Season

Government forecasters say 2006 is likely to be another busy hurricane season in the Atlantic.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expects eight to 10 hurricanes in the Atlantic this year. Last year, there were 15, including six that struck the United States.

Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through the end of November.

One reason this year could be milder than last year is that there is no La Nina condition. La Nina, which did exist last year, shifts the jet stream in a way that favors hurricanes.

Even so, forecasters expect more than an average number of storms, due to a climate pattern that tends to produce several decades of unusual hurricane activity followed by several quiet decades.

Since 1995, nine of 11 hurricane seasons have been above average. Last year's season was one of the worst on record.

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Jon Hamilton is a correspondent for NPR's Science Desk. Currently he focuses on neuroscience and health risks.