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Buckle in for Hurricane Season 2010

By Micheal D. Lemonick

Major anniversaries of natural disasters are usually times to reflect with awe on the forces the planet can unleash — and to acknowledge the human suffering that too often results. The fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's assault on the Gulf Coast, coming up at the end of August, will almost certainly serve as a prime example.

But the coastal states may not have the luxury of looking back at 2005. If a growing number of forecasts are correct, the hurricane season of 2010 could be a monster — one that will have the eastern states from the Gulf of Mexico to New England fearfully watching the sea all summer. 

As recently as a few months ago, storm experts were predicting an average hurricane season this year, or maybe one even a little below average. In a typical year, the Atlantic brews up about six hurricanes. Last year, there were a paltry three. Just in the past week, however, hurricane watchers at universities and private forecasting companies have started to talk about numbers more like seven or eight. On Tuesday Britain's official weather service — its venerable Met Office — joined the consensus. On Thursday, the US will weigh in, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) presents its own outlook, and nobody expects it to be any more favorable...

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