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National Hurricane Center Predicts Up to Six Major Hurricanes

The National Hurricane Center forecast Monday four to six major hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico this year.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    A look at what could complicate the mayor's job: the outlook for hurricanes as the season begins. Earlier today, I spoke with Richard Pasch, senior specialist at the National Hurricane Center.

    Richard Pasch, welcome. You are predicting four to six major hurricanes this year. How does that compare to what we experienced last year?

  • RICHARD PASCH, Senior Specialist, National Hurricane Center:

    Last year, we had seven major hurricanes, but we also had 28 named storms last year, which was by far the most active hurricane season in history.

    We're not forecasting a repeat of last year. You never predict those kinds of record-shattering seasons, but the conditions we're looking at out there right now, it doesn't look very good, if we're trying to avoid having more hurricanes develop out there.

    The Atlantic waters are warmer than normal, not as warm as they were last year, but still warm, and the upper winds look like they're becoming favorable, with weak vertical shear, and that would encourage development and intensification of hurricanes.

    We don't have an El Nino episode in the Pacific to offset any of these favorable conditions. That could produce some shearing winds, as well. We don't see that. The La Nina, or cold-water episode in the Eastern Pacific, is starting to fade or is pretty much faded away, so it's kind of a neutral condition out there. But overall it looks, unfortunately, like we're going to have another busy year.