The 2009 hurricane season will see three hurricanes impacting the U.S. coast, compared with four that arrived last year, and a lower total number of named storms, according to an early forecast.

Joe Bastardi, AccuWeather chief long-range and hurricane forecaster, also predicted storms may be more likely to form in the Atlantic basin closer to the coast. The possibility of a major hurricane making a U.S. landfall cannot be ruled out, he warned.

“This year’s forecast shows only half as many impacts on the United States as there were last year,” Mr. Bastardi said. “But keep in mind, it only takes one major hurricane hitting a highly populated area to have devastating impact.”

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