Scientists Predict Major Hurricane Season

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The 2010 hurricane season officially starts on Tuesday, June 1. Forecasters warn it could be the worst season in five years, when Hurricanes Rita and Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.

Government scientists are predicting between 14 and 23 named storms. Up to seven of those could be major hurricanes with winds over 100 miles per hour.

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

A storm season this active will have a major affect on offshore oil and gas drilling operations.

Scientists have said they are unsure of what environmental hazards to expect. Fears abound that such turbulent weather could push the oil now floating in the Gulf deeper into estuaries and wetlands along the coast.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is taking no chances and has warned coastal residents to be mindful of the 2005 season when Katrina hit the Gulf and killed more than 1,000 people.

"Don't take anything for granted," Crist said at the annual Florida Governor's Hurricane Conference in Fort Lauderdale. "We don't need to suffer from hurricane amnesia."

The Atlantic hurricane season is expected to run through Nov. 30.

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