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TODAY Show: Travel Tips to Hurricane-Proof Your Vacation

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Were you stranded because of Hurricane Irene? T+L Features Director Nilou Motamed shares some smart travel tips for weathering storms.

2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season Will Be Active, Have More US Landfalls

The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season begins today, June 1, and ends November 30:

201106-b-hurricane-istockjpgAccuWeather.com Hurricane Center meteorologists, led by Meteorologist and Hurricane Forecaster Paul Pastelok, are predicting an active season for 2011 with more impact on the U.S. coastline than last year.

The team is forecasting a total of 15 named tropical storms, eight of which will attain hurricane status and four of which will attain major hurricane status (Category 3 or higher).

In a normal year, there are 10 tropical storms, six of which become hurricanes and two of which become major hurricanes, or attain winds that exceed 110 mph.

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Best Weather Tools for Travelers

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Sick of winter yet? New York City just experienced its snowiest January on record, and Chicago is currently digging itself out from yesterday’s Groundhog’s Day blizzard, which was the third worst snowstorm to ever hit the city.

In a season like this, weather dictates how people travel. Weather Underground, home to the world's largest historical weather database, just re-launched its website Wunderground.com yesterday, which caused weather geeks around the world to rejoice. It's built several great travel tools, drawing info from their massive database to help you stay one step ahead of the weather while planning your next trip. Here are my favorites:

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Trapped in Chicago? Kimpton Snow Deal from $99/Night

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If you’re stuck in the Windy City on account of the predicted 18” of snow (or if you’re avoiding being stuck somewhere not as cozy as a hotel), the Chicago-area Kimpton properties, the Hotel Allegro, Hotel Burnham, Hotel Monaco, and Hotel Palomar just announced a $99 “Stranded in the City” rate that is in effect from Tuesday through Friday.  Just use the booking code 'COLD' when you’re booking a room online or over the phone.

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Lonely Planet Consoles Stranded Travelers with Free Apps

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No matter how miserable your shoveling chores were this morning, I bet you wouldn't trade places with a stranded traveler in a snowstorm. Flight delays typically mean another day or five stuck in a strange city without an itinerary.

—That is, unless John Boris can help it.

Over the past year, when severe weather or natural disaster has trapped tourists at the airports, Lonely Planet Americas’s executive vice president and managing director has been making his popular city-guide apps (iPhone, iPod; iPad) completely FREE for download at iTunes for 72 hours. (Normally, they sell for as much as $5.99!)

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East Coast Snow Impacts Travel Nationwide

Here's hoping you got home before Sunday night, when the season's first blizzard blanketed the northeast under several feet of snow. AOL Travel has several stories of stranded passengers and snarled airports:

Some air passengers endured nightmare delays as a blizzard dropped up to 18 inches of snow on the Northeast and travelers tried to get home from the Christmas holiday break.

Airports shut down in Washington, Philadelphia and New York. But there were storm-caused delays and canceled flights elsewhere too as carriers moved planes around to avoid the storm.

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Worse than Sand in the Labor Day Potato Salad? Hurricane Earl

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As of 2pm, the National Weather Service had issued a hurricane watch for the North Carolina coast. The state is currently evacuating visitors from Hatteras Island and the rest of the Outer Banks.

Virginia and the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware, and the Jersey Shore (batten down the Situation!) are all under hurricane warnings, and small craft advisories extend into New England, and all the way south to the Florida Keys.

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Fierce Hurricane Season Predicted

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USA Today | Federal forecasters Thursday called for an "active" to "extremely active" hurricane season this year. They predict anywhere from 14 to 23 named storms to form in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.

Of those named storms, eight to 14 should become hurricanes, including three to seven "major" hurricanes with wind speeds above 111 mph.

This prediction is the highest of any that federal forecasters have made since they began issuing seasonal hurricane forecasts in 1998.

Photo credit: iStock

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2010 Hurricane Season Begins Today

The Sun Sentinel |  They are nature's most powerful storms, able to wrench off roofs, blow out windows, rip down trees and otherwise ravage a large metropolitan area.

Major hurricanes—Categories 3, 4 and 5—produce sustained winds from 110 mph to as much as 185 mph and can generate storm surges more than 20 feet above normal tide levels.

With the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season starting today, experts say there is a significant chance one or more of these monsters will strike the U.S. coast over the next six months. The reason: It could be an extremely active year with up to 14 hurricanes, seven major, forecasters said.

"In general, more active seasons have more landfalling hurricanes.Therefore, the odds of a major hurricane making U.S. landfall increases," said Phil Klotzbach, the Colorado State University climatologist who develops seasonal outlooks with William Gray.

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Travel Chaos as Ash Closes Air Space



CNN London |  European countries shut their airspace one after the other Thursday as a cloud of volcanic ash wafted over from Iceland and posed a danger to flights.

Airspace over the United Kingdom was due to be closed for six hours from midday but air authorities later extended the closure until at least 7 a.m. BST (2 a.m. EST) Friday.

Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands also announced the closure of their airspace, authorities in each country said.

Norway also closed its ocean territory and canceled helicopter flights to off-shore oil installations, according to Avinor, the Norwegian agency responsible for the Norwegian airport network.

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