The Weather Research Center, a private firm based in Houston, forecast eight tropical storms, with six of those growing into hurricanes. The average is 10 tropical storms and six hurricanes per year.
According to the Orbital Cyclone Strike Index, the East Coast above Florida has the highest risk of a storm landfall this year at 64 percent.
The center placed the landfall chance for Florida's east coast at 30 percent, Mexico at 30 percent and the U.S. Gulf Coast at 46 percent. Forecasters said there's a 73 percent chance of Gulf of Mexico oil leases seeing a tropical storm or hurricane.
And while the official seasons begins June first, Weather Research Center forecasters said there is an 18 percent chance of a May storm.
Colorado State University professor William Gray, another leading forecaster, expects 12 named storms and eight hurricanes for the 2003 season.
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