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US analysts expect at least seven Atlantic hurricanes this season

The US government weather analysts announced Thursday they expect at least seven Atlantic hurricanes this season, with a handful of Category 3 storms being produced.

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A resident walks next to a damage house after Hurricane Ike hit the Golf of Mexico in Galveston, Texas September 15, 2008. Hurricane analysts are expecting a busy Atlantic season, with at least 7 hurricanes.

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

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The upcoming Atlantic hurricane season will have between 14 to 23 tropical storms and up to seven major hurricanes, the U.S. government predicted Thursday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted that three to seven of the hurricanes will be major storms that reach Category 3 or higher — meaning they bring sustained winds of at least 111 mph.

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"If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more active on record," NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco said in a statement. "The greater likelihood of storms brings an increased risk of a landfall. In short, we urge everyone to be prepared."

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The forecast is based on the weakening of El Nino. The Pacific Ocean phenomenon creates strong wind shear that weakens Atlantic storms.

No hurricanes hit the United States last year. Hurricane Ida hit Nicaragua as a Category 1 storm last November.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins Tuesday and runs through Nov. 30.