US could see seven to 11 hurricanes in 'active' season

Hurricane Sandy satellite image October 2012 Hurricane Sandy, seen above, caused serious damage from storm surge and flooding across the US East Coast

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US weather forecasters have predicted an unusually active Atlantic hurricane season of seven to 11 hurricanes.

There is a 70% chance 13-20 named storms will form, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

This is above the average of 12 named storms, including six hurricanes, in the six-month season beginning in June.

The agency's administrator urged families to prepare well, recalling devastating super storm Sandy, which smashed the US east coast last year.

The conditions in the Atlantic could produce three to six major hurricanes - storms with wind speeds of more than 111mph (179km/h). Those storms are classified as category three or higher hurricanes.

"This year, oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the Atlantic basin are expected to produce more and stronger hurricanes," forecaster Gerry Bell said.

"These conditions include weaker wind shear, warmer Atlantic waters and conducive winds patterns coming from Africa."

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