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    Gulf Region a Concern Area this Hurricane Season

    By By Gina Cherundolo, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
    April 06, 2011, 6:16:55 AM EDT

    AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center meteorologists are predicting an active season for 2011 with more impact on the U.S. coastline than last year, with the Gulf Coast part of an area of higher concern.

    Around 15 total storms are predicted this year, with eight of these becoming hurricanes, three of which will develop into major hurricanes.

    As with most Atlantic hurricane seasons, the areas where storms are most likely to make landfall shift as the season progresses.

    This year, the western Gulf Coast region is in the early-season risk area, while the eastern Gulf region will be in the mid- to late-season area.

    "We feel that this season, there will be a higher potential for impacts across the southern part of the basin into the Gulf of Mexico during the first part of the season," Expert Senior Meteorologist and Hurricane Forecaster Paul Pastelok said. "This higher potential for impacts shift farther north into the southeast U.S. during the latter half of the season."

    However, during a given year, early-season storms can hit anywhere.

    "In many of these years that we look at climatologically, you can have one or two early-season tropical cyclones almost anywhere in the basin," AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said.

    Tropical storms had a minimal impact on the United States coastline, but Texas had most of the activity.

    "Texas had the highest impacts last year... there's a chance that may happen again this year, especially in the early part of the season since... patterns are very similar to what we saw last year at this time during the early part of the season," Kottlowski said.

    The Texas and western Louisiana coastlines are in a higher concern area again this season.

    "We still think that there's going to be a higher chance along the Texas and maybe the western Louisiana coast than normal," Kottlowski said. "[It's] just simply the way the patterns are setting up again this year."

    Another higher concern area during the middle to late part of the season in the Gulf Region is the southern tip of Florida.

    Kottlowski said an area of high pressure over the Atlantic that helps guide tropical storms may steer more storms to this area.

    "[The high pressure] may weaken or actually reposition itself a little bit to the northeast as we get later in the season, which would allow more of a storm track closer to Florida and also up the East Coast as well," he said.

    For more information, be sure to check out the complete 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Forecast.

    Hurricane season officially begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

    For all the latest tropical information, be sure to check the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center for the most up-to-date videos, information and storm tracks.

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