An early hurricane forecast for 2009 released by calls for fewer landfalls in the United States, as well as a lower overall number of named storms. Joe Bastardi, chief long-range and hurricane forecaster at sees three hurricanes impacting the U.S. coast in 2009, compared with the four that made landfall last year. However, storms may be more likely to form in the Atlantic Basin closer to the coast and the possibility of a major hurricane making landfall in the U.S. cannot be ruled out. Bastardi also warned that it only takes one major hurricane hitting a highly populated area to have devastating impact. A key takeaway from the forecast is that the number of storms should still be near or a little above normal. While Bastardi expects 13 total storms down from 16 in 2008, the number of likely hurricanes remains the same as last year at 8. You have been duly warned. Check back with us in early April for an updated forecast of 2009 hurricane activity from Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project. Check out I.I.I. facts and stats on hurricanes.