Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say this year's Atlantic hurricane season is likely to see above-average activity. While they predict 12 to 15 tropical storms, with six to eight becoming hurricanes and two to four becoming big hurricanes, they also point to gains in storm response:
• Tracking is more accurate because of advanced satellite technology, computer models, and air probes that fly through storms. Data can be shared with third-world countries.
• Warnings and emergency responses result in a $3 billion savings during a typical hurricane season. But population growth and real estate booms along coasts mean damage costs will rise. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew cost $26.5 billion.
Sources: AP, NOAA, National Hurricane Center