2009 Atlantic hurricane season begins quietly

Tuesday, June 2nd 2009, 12:04 pm
By: News 9

MIAMI (AP) -- The "skinny black line," long a staple of forecasts showing a hurricane's projected path, could be a casualty of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season that began today.
   While urging preparedness, the director of the nation's hurricane center says he's on a crusade against the line, which forecasters have long called misleading.
   Bill Read said this year, people who go to the hurricane center's Web site to track an approaching storm won't see that line, just a graphic that shows a cone representing the projected path of its center. He'll also urge local weather offices to use a line-less graphic.
   Read said that over the last year he realized just how many people mistakenly use the line to determine how they'll respond to the storm -- like whether to evacuate or make other preparations.
   Hurricane season runs from June to November and is typically busiest in August and September. This afternoon, the center's Web site showed the Atlantic Ocean quiet. A tropical depression formed last week but quickly dissipated.
   Federal forecasters predicted a near-normal hurricane season with nine to 14 named tropical storms. The season is expected to include four to seven hurricanes with one to three likely to be major -- Category 3 or higher, with winds more than 111 miles per hour. There were five major hurricanes last year.