"A wide variety of global indicators obtained and analyzed through March continue to point to 2003 being an active Atlantic hurricane season," Colorado State University professor William Gray said Friday. "We expect Atlantic basin tropical cyclone activity to be about 140 percent of average this year."
There were four hurricanes during the June-November 2002 hurricane season. Gray and his associates predict eight for 2003, including three intense hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher.
The Weather Research Center, a private forecasting company based in Houston, predicts six hurricanes for the season.
Gray and his associates attribute the increase to the decline of El Nino, which had suppressed hurricane activity last season. The forecasters also cite very warm sea surface temperatures combining with decreasing sea surface pressures in the north and tropical Atlantic as factors.
The four hurricanes in the 2002 season were Lili, Kyle, Isidore and Gustav.