AccuWeather predicting quiet hurricane season

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Elise Feldman stands by her son Josh Feldman, 11 of Leonardtown, Md., cautiously watching their footing as the pier breaks up from the force of the waves pounding the boards loose as Hurricane Isabel slams into the eastern seaboard. is forecasting a relatively quiet Atlantic hurricane season, predicting a dozen named storms, including two major hurricanes.

The weather service is anticipating five hurricanes in all, and seven tropical storms. That is about average, but a drop in storm activity compared with 2011. Last year, there were 19 named storms, four of them developing into major hurricanes.

The predictions cast a slightly more active storm season compared with another forecast released earlier this month, by The Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University. That forecast predicts 10 named storms in 2012.

AccuWeather is projecting a quiet start to the hurricane season, in particular. Strong winds high in the atmosphere are creating a significant wind shear, or change in wind speed or direction at different altitudes. That restricts the type of cloud development often needed for tropical storms to develop.
The hurricane season could also be quieted if an El Nino system develops this summer, as expected. The system, which involves above-normal water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, is associated with reduced tropical storm development.