For 2008, the outlook indicates a 60 to 70 % chance of 12 to 16 named storms including 2 to 5 major hurricanes

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s is predicting a good chance of up to 16 named storms in the 2008 hurricane season, which begins in June.

For 2008, the outlook indicates a 60 to 70 % chance of 12 to 16 named storms, including 6 to 9 hurricanes and 2 to 5 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale).

Retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, said: ‘Living in a coastal state means having a plan for each and every hurricane season. Review or complete emergency plans now - before a storm threatens. Planning and preparation is the key to storm survival and recovery.’

The outlook calls for considerable activity with a 65 % probability of an above normal season and a 25 % probability of a near normal season. This means there is a 90 % chance of a near or above normal season.

An average season has 11 named storms, including six hurricanes for which two reach major status.

‘The outlook is a general guide to the overall seasonal hurricane activity,’ Lautenbacher said. ‘It does not predict whether, where or when any of these storms may hit land. That is the job of the National Hurricane Center after a storm forms.’

Bill Read, director of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, said, ‘Our forecasters are ready to track any tropical cyclone, from a depression to a hurricane, which forms in the Atlantic Basin. We urge coastal residents to have a hurricane plan in place before the season begins and NHC will continue to provide the best possible forecast to the public.’