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6/8/2011 - Atlantic coast may see 12 to 18 hurricanes

Estimates say the Atlantic Ocean could see more than a dozen hurricanes.

After an extraordinary last few months for earthquakes, tornadoes and flooding, forecasters are projecting another type of environmental catastrophe will also be active: hurricanes.

According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, residents living along the Atlantic can expect to see between 12 to 18 named storms. In addition, the NOAA projects as many as 10 of these storms will be hurricanes - as opposed to tropical depressions - and six could be category three, four or five. Category five hurricanes can register wind gusts in excess of 110 miles per hour.

"The United States was fortunate last year," said Jane Lubchenco, undersecretary and administrator for the NOAA, referring to how the U.S. was spared from receiving any direct hurricane hits. "However we can't count on luck to get us through this season. We need to be prepared, especially with this above-normal outlook."

Climatologists attribute the rise in activity to several factors, including a warm Atlantic Ocean, the La Nina weather pattern and living in an era in which hurricanes have been more commonplace.

Home insurance claims were particularly rife in 2005. According to the Insurance Information Institute, insured losses for Hurricane Katrina alone totaled $125 billion.

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