Hurricane forecasters blame late El Nino for confounding '06 predictions for Atlantic

Friday, November 17th 2006, 10:53 am
By: News On 6

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) _ A late El Nino this year confounded hurricane forecasters' predictions for the Atlantic storm season, which turned out to be much quieter than normal, hurricane expert William Gray's team said Friday.

Gray and fellow Colorado State University researcher Philip Klotzbach had predicted a well-above-average season in their forecasts issued in December, early April and late May.

In late the May forecast, they still expected 17 named storms, including nine hurricanes.

Instead, there have been nine named storms, five of them hurricanes, since the Atlantic storm season started on June 1. The season ends Nov. 30.

``A variety of factors interact with each other to cause year-to-year and month-to-month hurricane variability,'' Klotzbach said in the statement. ``It is impossible to understand how all these processes interact with each other to 100 percent certainty.''

The 2006 Atlantic season had the fewest named storms since 1997, the fewest hurricanes since 2002 and the fewest named storms to make U.S. landfall since 2001.