Source Pravda.Ru

Epsilon becomes year's record 14th Atlantic hurricane

Tropical Storm Epsilon has been upgraded to a hurricane, a record 14th for this year.

Forecasters said Friday that Epsilon is east of Bermuda and is not expected to hit land.

The six-month &to=http://english.pravda.ru/accidents/21/97/385/16167_Rita.html' target=_blank>hurricane season officially ended November 30, the busiest period on record. With 26 named storms, forecasters used up their list of designated names and resorted to marking the storms with letters of the Greek alphabet.

The season was also unusually intense. Three hurricanes briefly reached the most violent Category Five status, with Katrina devastating New Orleans and other parts of the U.S. Gulf coast.

Some experts believe the intensity marks the beginning of a cycle expected to last more than a decade, reports Voice of America.

According to San Jose Mercury News, The Atlantic hurricane season began June 1 and officially ended Wednesday. Epsilon was only the fifth December hurricane recorded in more than 120 years, National Weather Service Hurricane Specialist Stacy Stewart said.

By December, upper-atmosphere winds are normally strong enough to keep storms in check, Stewart said, "but about every 20 years or so, the atmosphere allows it to happen." The latest that a hurricane formed in the Caribbean was Dec. 30, which happened in 1954, he said. No other major storms have appeared on the horizon, he said.

Forecasters say 2006 could be another brutal hurricane year because the Atlantic is in a period of frenzied activity that began in 1995 and could last at least another decade.

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