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Claims News Service, May 16, 9:59 a.m. EDT — The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center, led by Chief Forecaster Joe Bastardi, is predicting an active hurricane season, which it says could have major repercussions for the U.S. economy. According to Accuweather’s web site, Bastardi and his team are forecasting that six tropical cyclones will make landfall in the U.S for the 2006 hurricane season. Five of these land-falling storms are likely to be hurricanes, with three being major hurricanes of Category 3 or greater. “The 2006 season will be a creeping threat,” said Bastardi, in a report found here. “Early in the season-June and July-the Texas Gulf Coast faces the highest likelihood of a hurricane strike, possibly putting Gulf energy production in the line of fire. As early as July, and through much of the rest of the season, the highest level of risk shifts to the Carolinas. From mid-August into early October, the window is open for hurricane strikes to spread northward to the more densely populated Northeast coast. At the very end of the season, southern Florida also faces significant hurricane risk.” In an article published shortly after the end of the 2005 hurricane season, weather researchers at the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University predicted that nine storms would become hurricanes, of which five would become “intense” hurricanes ranking at or above the Category 3 status on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

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