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US Forecasters Prepare Hurricane Season Outlook

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File photo of a hurricane. (NASA via Getty Image)

File photo of a hurricane. (NASA via Getty Image)

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MIAMI (AP) — Federal forecasters are getting ready to release their outlook for the Atlantic hurricane season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will release its initial outlook for the six-month storm season Thursday at its Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami.

Hurricane season officially begins June 1, but it started early this year when Tropical Storm Alberto formed May 19 off South Carolina’s coast.

This hurricane season will mark the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew’s catastrophic landfall in South Florida as a Category 5 storm.

The 2011 season was the sixth consecutive year without the U.S. landfall of a major hurricane. Major hurricanes are classified as Category 3 storms with sustained winds of 111 mph or higher.

Nevertheless, last season still produced 19 named tropical storms, the third-highest number on record.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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