Predicting 2011 hurricane season could be tough

May 31, 2011 12:55:51 PM PDT
The tough task of guessing what hurricane season will look like could be even more difficult this year for forecasters. That's because they won't be able to rely on the relatively predictable forces known as El Nino and La Nina.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins Wednesday, and the National Hurricane Center in Miami expects it to be busier than normal, with as many as 18 named tropical storms, including three to six major hurricanes.

El Nino and La Nina are warming and cooling trends that can either rev up hurricanes or suppress them. But both of them are expected to be neutral this year. That could make it more difficult to say how bad the 2011 hurricane season will be.