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Coming Storms: Method predicts intensity of U.S. hurricane seasons

A new computer model that analyzes summer-wind patterns can predict whether the United States will suffer a damaging hurricane season, according to the scientists who developed the tool.

Hurricanes are among nature's most destructive disasters. Eight of the 10 costliest U.S. calamities were hurricanes, says Mark A. Saunders, an atmospheric physicist at University College London in Dorking, England. The average annual bill for hurricane damage in the continental United States is about $5.6 billion. However, last year, when six hurricanes slammed the Gulf Coast and eastern seaboard, insured losses tallied $18.8 billion in Florida alone.

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