Modest hurricane season forecast doesn't calm coastal residents

SAVANNAH -- This year, a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is likely, with nine to 14 named tropical storms, and four to seven of them developing into hurricanes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted Thursday.

But before you breathe a sigh of relief, consider this: Even if the prediction is dead on, it doesn't tell you where hurricanes will strike.

"All it takes is one," said Clayton Scott, director of the Chatham Emergency Management Agency. "That's really, really important."

One storm in Savannah would make it an above-average season here.

"This year, they're saying it'll be an average season, but who cares?" said Chuck Watson, a Savannah hurricane modeler and hazards analyst. "In 1992, there were only three (named) storms, but one of them was Hurricane Andrew. The number of storms doesn't tell you anything about landfall."

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