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Active 2011 Hurricane Season Predicted

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6/1/2011 2:00:00 PM

This year’s Atlantic hurricane season, which starts Wednesday, could produce more storms than usual and include three to six major storms, according to the U.S. Climate Prediction Center, Bloomberg reported.

Forecasts call for a 65% chance of 12 to 18 storms — more than the average 11 named storm systems per year, the center said. Hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.

Storms can affect the price of oil by threatening or damaging refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast in Louisiana and Texas, as was the case with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, which sent diesel and gasoline prices to then-record highs.

The last hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland was Hurricane Ike, a Category 2 storm, in 2008. Categories run from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most powerful.

There has not been a three-year period without a U.S. hurricane strike since the 1860s, according to Weather Services International, a software maker owned by the Weather Channel, Bloomberg reported.

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