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Franklin to hit Mexico oil state as season's 1st Atlantic hurricane

Franklin to hit Mexico oil state as season's 1st Atlantic hurricane

Tropical storm Franklin has gained in strength and is expected to develop into a hurricane later on Wednesday, hitting Mexico's eastern Veracruz state as a hurricane on Wednesday night or early on Thursday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

US government forecasters gave coastal residents more reasons Wednesday to worry and prepare for disaster: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's updated hurricane season forecast predicts 14 to 19 named storms, with five to nine hurricanes.

Hurricane Warnings have been issued along the coast of Mexico.

Federal forecasters are predicting a higher likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year, according to a August 9 scheduled update from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The traditional Atlantic season runs from June 1 through November 30, with this year's Tropical Storm Arlene jumping the gun and forming in April.

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"We're now entering the peak of the season when the bulk of the storms usually form", lead seasonal hurricane forecaster Gerry Bell said. The Hurricane Center measured a peak wind gust of 164 miles per hour.

Forecasters said the season could be the most active since 2010.

Mexico Civil Protection director Ricardo de la Cruz said Tuesday that the storm's impact on Yucatan was not as bad as initially feared, with some trees down and power out in some areas. NOAA updates their outlook in August before the most active part of hurricane season, which is between August and October. Andrew was blamed for 23 deaths in the USA and three deaths in the Bahamas and caused an estimated $26.5 billion in damage in the United States.

The NHC said development of this system is not expected during the next few days due to unfavorable environmental conditions, but some development is possible this weekend while the system moves generally west-northwestward at about 15 miles per hour over the western Atlantic. "The calculated model losses to the insurance industry are of a magnitude not yet observed; they range from United States dollars 60bn to USD 180bn", the report said.


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