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1/31/2012 - Forecasters predict what 2012 could bring for storms

2012 could be a strong year for storms.

While 2011 was an active year for weather-related disasters, forecasters indicate storm activity could be even more robust in 2012, according to Reuters.

The news service reports that due to a La Niña weather pattern that is expected to last well into 2012, researchers say it could be an especially busy hurricane season in the Atlantic, especially if there are no major El Nino events.

In the meantime, however, the winter may be relatively tame compared to past years, due to above-average temperatures.

"The common thread this winter compared to last is the presence of La Niña," Chris Vaccaro, public affairs director of the National Weather Service, told Reuters. "But the La Niña we have now and through the winter is not anticipated to be as strong as last year."

Much of the Northeast has yet to experience significant snowfall, which is contrasted to last year when heavy amounts of snow had some referring to the winter as "snowmageddon."

The U.S. wasn't the only country to be hit hard by weather in 2011. According to global reinsurer Munich Re, natural catastrophe and property insurance losses in the first nine months of the year totaled $310 billion, with the most significant economic losses occurring in the Asia-Pacific region.

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