Hurricane Forecast

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British scientists say they've come up with a better way of predicting whether the United States is in for a bad Atlantic hurricane season.

The new computer model was developed by climate researchers at University College in London. It measures the intensity of the trade winds and the temperature of the water in July to predict whether it is going to be a busy hurricane season and whether those storms will tend to reach land or stay out at sea.

The researchers reported that the model correctly predicted the unusually active 2004 hurricane season, when Florida and other Southern states were pummeled with five hurricanes in a row.

The British group will make its 2005 forecast on August fourth. Most Atlantic hurricanes that strike land develop after August first.

Details appear in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.