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Learning English - Words in the News
30 November, 2005 - Published 11:35 GMT
Storm season ends
Satelite image of Hurricane Rita

The 2005 hurricane season, the most active on record, is drawing to its official close today, 30th November. The season saw the devastating Hurricane Katrina which struck the Gulf Coast in August, and also severe flooding in central America. This report from Roland Pease:

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The hurricane season has ended with one storm lashing the Canaries, off the coast of West Africa, and yet another brewing in the middle of the Atlantic. That brings the total number of named tropical storms in the Atlantic this season to twenty six, roundly beating the previous record of twenty one, set seventy years ago. So numerous were the cyclones, that having used up all the permitted letters of the roman alphabet, the experts have now moved onto greek letters - epsilon is the name of the latest.

Hurricane Katrina, which lashed the gulf coast of America in late August was the costliest natural disaster in US history. Wilma, just a month ago was briefly the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record. The number of storms that reached hurricane status, thirteen, was one more than seen before. There were three category five hurricanes in a single season - yet another record.

There's speculation that increased hurricane activity is related to global warming: two scientific papers this year have linked their intensity to climate change. But experts from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are insisting that conventional factors are at work - sea surface temperatures two or three degrees warmer feeding the hurricanes' fury, and favourable high-altitude winds helping them on their way. But that's no comfort in the short term - they warn that if the hurricane cycle persists the way they expect, we should see high levels of hurricane activity for years to come, and large numbers making deadly landfall.

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roundly beating
beating by a large number

So numerous were the cyclones, that
There were so many cyclones, that

most expensive

discussion about what might be happening


feeding the hurricanes' fury
making the hurricanes grow stronger and more violent


making deadly landfall
arriving on land and causing a lot of damage

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