March 31, 2008 / 11:11 PM / 12 years ago

Atlantic to see six hurricanes in '08 - forecast

HOUSTON, March 31 (Reuters) - The 2008 hurricane season will see 11 named tropical storms, with six becoming hurricanes, weather researchers said on Monday.

Half the hurricanes will become strong hurricanes, and four named storms will make landfall in the United States, the Houston-based Weather Research Center predicted.

The 2008 forecast gives 70 percent odds a cyclone will hit West Florida and 60 percent odds storms will strike the Louisiana -Mississippi-Alabama coast and the U.S. east coast.

It could be a long season, with a 30 percent chance of tropical storm formation in May and a 10 percent chance in December, the news release said.

The center uses an index called the Orbital Cyclone Strike Index, developed in 1984, to decide the risk faced by various areas along the coast.

Based partly on the 11-year solar activity cycle, the index has accurately predicted the area at highest risk in all but three of the last 24 years, the news release said. (Reporting by Bruce Nichols; Editing by Christian Wiessner)

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