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Hurricane season

By United Press International

MIAMI, June 1 (UPI) -- The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season began Tuesday, with officials warning of a busy year and the first named storm already causing dozens of deaths.

Wide regions of Central America were damaged by Tropical Storm Agatha, which made landfall Sunday. The storm's torrential rains caused landslides in several countries but Guatemala seemed the worst affected, with more than 140 people known dead, many others missing and tens of thousands left homeless.

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The hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 but it isn't unusual for storms to develop well outside that time frame.

U.S. weather officials said this year, unlike last season when only three hurricanes formed, has conditions ripe for a higher-than-average number of powerful storms. A combination of a weak El Nino and warmer waters in the Atlantic led forecasters to predict 14-23 named storms and 8-14 hurricanes, including 3-7 major storms. Meteorologists said the average is 10 named storms and six hurricanes.

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