'Very active' hurricane season predicted

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued its predictions for this year's hurricane season, and things don't look good. While last year was an aberration—28 storms, 15 of which were hurricanes—the 2006 forecast is still dire. The NOAA is estimating a season of 13 to 16 named storms, eight or 10 of which will become hurricanes.

The NOAA's administrator, retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, stated that "four to six [of the big storms] could become 'major' hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher.

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The north Atlantic hurricane season is from June 1 through November 30. If you're planning to travel during that time, or if you live in a hurricane-risk area, it's wise to be prepared for the worst. This being National Hurricane Preparedness week (May 21 through 27), the NOAA has published a Family Disaster Plan that lists some of the most important safety tips.

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