The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced yesterday that 2008 could be a busy hurricane season. Between twelve and 16 storms may be big enough to earn names, and six to nine should be intense enough to be qualified as hurricanes. And of those, two to five could be major.

But don’t shutter the windows and stay indoors just yet. NOAA also acknowledged that this information isn’t exactly reliable. Long-term predictions about the weather aren’t easy to get right. And several of the scientists involved say it’s not a bad idea to just ignore the predictions. Conducting them is interesting from a science perspective, they say, but people shouldn’t use the results as a guide.

Check this Orlando Sentinel piece for some good perspective on the issue, and whether NOAA should continue issuing these forecasts at all.