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Noted hurricane forecaster sees above-average season in 2008

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- A noted hurricane researcher is forecasting a "well above average" Atlantic storm season this year.

The report by William Gray's team at Colorado State University predicts eight hurricanes, four of them major.

Today's report updates a December forecast that called for seven hurricanes with three major storms.

An average of 5.9 hurricanes form in the Atlantic each year.

Gray made the announcement at a weather conference in the Bahamas.

U.S. government forecasters issue their seasonal outlook in late May.

National Hurricane Center director Bill Read, who is in his first year on the job, has said he would prefer to characterize the season in general terms -- as above average, average or below average -- instead of trying to forecast a precise number of storms.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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