Experts take steps to improve forecasts as hurricane season begins

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Associated Press

Posted on June 1, 2014 at 8:09 AM

MIAMI (AP) — The Atlantic hurricane season starts today, and this year the experts will be testing some new ways to improve their forecasts.

For the first time, they'll be dropping small drones into storms in the hope they can learn more about how storms strengthen and better predict their intensity. Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plan to test five or six drones in the peak of hurricane season.

Another change will be a greater emphasis on forecasting storm surge, one of the greatest hazards of hurricanes and tropical storms. The National Hurricane Center will post color-coded maps predicting how far from the shoreline the water will spread and how high it will rise.

Forecasters think the weather phenomenon known as El Nino, which warms part of the Pacific every few years, will suppress the number and intensity of tropical weather this year. They're predicting eight to 13 tropical storms and three to six hurricanes.

Hurricane season ends Nov. 30.

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