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Hurricane Center chief predicts longer forecasts

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CHARLESTON, S.C. — The director of the National Hurricane Center expects the agency soon will be able to project storm positions a week ahead of time.

Bill Read traveled to Charleston to attend a hurricane conference with officials from other federal agencies. The Miami center now projects storm positions five days out, although confidence in forecasts diminishes over time.

Read said Monday he expects scientific advances will improve forecast accuracy so a one-week forecast is possible within two to five years.

He says the memories of Hurricane Irene and extensive damage it caused last August along the East Coast will only remain with people for about five years. He says even as forecasting improves, the biggest challenge is to crack the feeling many in the public have that a storm won't affect them.