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macon.com Midday Update: Colo. researchers predict 8 Atlantic hurricanes, 4 major; Nunn in Atlanta to talk up volunteering; Delta exec says no 2nd thoughts on Northwest deal

A noted hurricane researcher is calling for eight hurricanes in the Atlantic this year, four of them major.

Today’s forecast calls for a very active season, with 15 named storms. William Gray, a former Colorado State University climatologist, pioneered the seasonal predictions in 1984.

The 15 named storms include tropical storm Arthur, which formed on May 31. The revised outlook from the Colorado State University researchers is the same as their April forecast.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last month forecast 12 to 16 named storms, including six to nine hurricanes.

‘‘Conditions in the tropical Atlantic look quite favorable for an active hurricane season,’’ said Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the CSU forecast.

Last June, the CSU team predicted 17 named storms, including nine hurricanes, five of them major. The year produced 14 named storms, including six hurricanes, two of them major.

The CSU forecasters used a new statistical model this year, which they say has shown considerable improvement over the previous model.

The team said there is a 69 percent chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall somewhere on the U.S. coastline, compared to the long-term average probability of 52 percent.

The team said there is a 45 percent chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the East Coast, including the Florida Peninsula. The long-term average is 31 percent.

– Associated Press

Ex-Ga. senator talks up volunteering

Sam Nunn - the former Democratic U.S. senator from Georgia - will be in Atlanta talking about the benefits of national service.

He’ll be joined today by former defense secretary William Cohen. The two have been conducting a series of political dialogues around the country.

Nunn’s name has been in circulation recently as a possible running mate for would-be Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. Nunn is widely believed to have national security experience that Obama is lacking.

And his roots as a conservative Democrat in Georgia could put the Republican-leaning state in play come November.

– Associated Press

Delta exec says no 2nd thoughts on Northwest deal

A Delta Air Lines executive said today he understands why other carriers are hesitant to combine in the current economic and high fuel price environment, but he insists his company has no plans to walk away from its proposed acquisition of Northwest Airlines.

The executive also said that Delta likely will be forced to announce more domestic capacity cuts in the future to deal with record fuel prices, but it doesn’t plan on announcing any further job cuts.

Following the Atlanta-based carrier’s sparsely attended annual meeting of shareholders, Ed Bastian, Delta’s president and chief financial officer, said his company would make the same decision today as it did in mid-April, when it announced its deal to combine with Northwest.

‘‘As oil continues its rise, I’m not surprised people are pausing,’’ Bastian said of other carriers’ recent decisions not to proceed with combination talks.

But asked if Delta plans to pause and perhaps walk away from the Northwest deal in order to preserve cash, Bastian said, ‘‘I don’t see that happening. No.’’– Associated Press

WHAT'S COMING UP ON MACON.COM

— Macon Pastor Onslow Ross is scheduled to be sentenced this morning for stealing money from his church and using it for paying his bills

— Columnist Ed Grisamore will tell you about Paulette Greene, an 80-year-old Macon woman, who grew up in Normandy region of France. She was 12 when the Germans occupied and 16 when the Americans liberated. She met an American soldier, married against her father's will and came the U.S. as a war bride in 1946.

VISIT US AGAIN SOON

We invite you to check out our Web site again tomorrow for the Midday Update. Monday through Friday, Online Editor Beth MacFadyen will bring you timely information about what Telegraph staffers are working on, plus news we think you need to know immediately. Send feedback to bmacfadyen@macon.com

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