NOAA expects 4 to 8 Atlantic hurricanes in 2012

MIAMI, Florida (Reuters) - The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season will be "near normal" with nine to 15 tropical storms and four to eight of those will strengthen into hurricanes, the U.S. government weather agency predicted on Thursday.

MIAMI, Florida (Reuters) - The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season will be "near normal" with nine to 15 tropical storms and four to eight of those will strengthen into hurricanes, the U.S. government weather agency predicted on Thursday.

One to three of those will grow into major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson intensity scale, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in its seasonal forecast. Major hurricanes have sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or higher and can cause devastating damage.

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