The Colorado State Hurricane Forecast Team has scaled back the number of tropical storms expected to take shape in the Atlantic this season. In May, the team had predicted 17 named storms, nine hurricanes, and five intense hurricanes.

Researchers Philip Klotzbach and William Gray say the reduced prediction is due to slightly cooler sea surface temperatures over the tropical Atlantic and still believe this season will be much more active than the average hurricane seasons between 1950 and 2000.

“The number of storms that formed during June and July isn’t relevant to this newest forecast – we’ve lowered our forecast from our May predictions because of slightly less favorable conditions in the tropical Atlantic,” Klotzbach said in a release. “Sea surface temperature anomalies have cooled across the tropical Atlantic in recent weeks, and there have been several significant dust outbreaks from Africa, signifying a generally stable air mass over the tropical Atlantic.”

According to Colorado State University, the team now calculates that there will be 15 total named storms for this season with eight becoming hurricanes, and four becoming intense hurricanes ( Saffir /Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of at least 111 mph.

The team will issue seasonal updates of the 2007 Atlantic basin hurricane activity on September 4 and October 2. The completed forecast, charts, and previous forecasts are available at http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu .

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