Up to 15 storms forecast for US in 2012

The signs are that this year's Atlantic Hurricane season is going to be a normal one. Peter Gibbs explains why this is likely to be the case.

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US weather officials predict there will be nine to 15 storms during this year's Atlantic hurricane season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) predicts four to eight of those storms will become hurricanes, a "near-normal" season.

The six-month Atlantic hurricane season begins on 1 June.

One tropical storm formed in the Atlantic on Saturday, while Hurricane Bud in the eastern Pacific has been upgraded to a category two hurricane.

Noaa predicts one to three storms will become major hurricanes, which are category three or higher storms, with sustained winds of 111mph (178km/h) or higher.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, a category five storm that wreaked havoc on southern Florida.

Between 1981 and 2010, an average season produced 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

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