Colorado State University’s tropical storm research team under William Gray predicts that this year’s hurricane season from June to end November will spawn twice as many hurricanes than last year with the number of “named storms” amounting to about 140% of the long-term annual average. Gray has been forecasting hurricanes for the last 20 years. Gray’s team believe that 2003 will produce 12 named storms, of which eight are expected to develop into hurricanes with three predicted to become “intense hurricanes”. In contrast, last year saw 12 named storms, from which four hurricanes developed that led to two intense hurricanes. The long-term annual average for tropical storms is 9.6 named storms from which 5.9 hurricanes developed with 2.3 becoming intense hurricanes. The hurricane team expect the El Nino effect in the Pacific, which presumably led to warmer temperatures last year and played a role in suppressing hurricane activity, will dissipate this summer. As such, Gray’s team believe there is above average potential for at least one intense hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. this year.