Hurricane forecasters warning more major storms are possible |

Hurricane forecasters warning more major storms are possible

DENVER – Amid the unfolding disaster left by Hurricane Katrina, Colorado State University researchers said Friday they expect more storms than average over the next two months.”Even though we’ve had the most destructive storm in history, it doesn’t mean we’re done for the year,” hurricane forecaster William Gray said.”We expect that by the time the 2005 hurricane season is over, we will witness seasonal tropical cyclone activity at near-record levels,” fellow researcher Philip Klotzbach said.Gray and Klotzbach’s team said there is a 43 percent chance an intense hurricane will hit the U.S. coast in September and a 15 percent chance in October. The long-term average is 27 percent in September and 6 percent in October.The CSU team predicted five named storms, four hurricanes and two major hurricanes for September, traditionally the most active month for hurricanes. They predicted three named storms, two hurricanes and one major hurricane in October.The forecast was in line with the range predicted by the National Hurricane Center for the whole season. The center’s forecast suggests five to eight named storms, five to seven hurricanes, and two to four major hurricanes will occur through November.For the full season, Gray and Klotzbach’s team expected 20 named storms, with 10 predicted to become hurricanes and six becoming intense hurricanes.Focus on Family questions Air Force religion guidelinesCOLORADO SPRINGS – The conservative Christian group Focus on the Family is calling on its followers to ask President Bush to revise new religious tolerance guidelines issued by the Air Force.”Please contact President Bush and urge him to restore the right to religious expression in the Air Force,” says a posting on Citizen Link, a website operated by Focus on the Family.The Air Force issued guidelines Monday that discourage public prayer at official functions and urge commanders to be sensitive about personal expressions of religious faith.Focus on the Family, which says its radio programs alone reach about 220 million people worldwide, posted an article about the guidelines two days later urging readers to contact the White House.”I’m concerned that the environment is not friendly to free expression of religion,” Tom Minnery, Focus on the Family’s vice president of public policy, told the Rocky Mountain News in Friday’s editions.The guidelines specifically guard the freedom of voluntary worship and peer discussions on religion.Residents allowed to return home after 55-acre wildfireBOULDER – Residents of seven houses in a rural subdivision were allowed to return Friday after crews contained a 55-acre wildfire in the foothills north of Boulder.No injuries were reported and no structures burned. The fire was contained about midnight.The residents were asked to leave the Foothills Ranch subdivision Thursday night because of heavy smoke, Boulder County spokesman Jim Burrus said.He said firefighters suspect the fire was started by a hot gasoline-powered weed trimmer, but the cause was still under investigation.In Western Colorado, a 426-acre wildfire in rugged terrain at the base of Grand Mesa was “smoldering and creeping” overnight and remained 80 percent contained Friday, said Larry Helmerick of the interagency Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center.

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