Forecast calls for very active hurricane season

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Forecaster William Gray says he expects a very active hurricane season, but he's not yet giving likely

numbers of named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes.

Gray told hundreds of people at the National Hurricane Conference on Thursday that the first numeric predictions will come

out April 10.

Gray, head of Colorado State's Tropical Meteorology Project, says that only development of an El Nino could slow down the

season, and that's looking less and less likely.

He also says the U.S. has been very lucky — the 16 years since 1995 have been an active period for hurricanes but most years

were free of direct hits by storms with winds of 111 mph or more.

He said, "This just defies statistics."

The hurricane season runs from June through November.