Florida faces ‘extremely active’ hurricane season

by | Apr 7, 2024

Colorado State University forecasts an “extremely active” 2024 hurricane season, anticipating 23 named storms and 11 hurricanes, five of which are expected to be major, due to warm Atlantic conditions.

Colorado State University (CSU) has issued a forecast predicting an “extremely active” hurricane season for 2024, with Florida squarely in the potential path of heightened storm activity.

The forecast, published on Thursday, anticipates 23 named storms, 11 hurricanes, and five reaching major hurricane status. The expected increase in activity is attributed to warm Atlantic Ocean conditions and the likely occurrence of La Niña this summer, which both favor the development of hurricanes.

The 2024 predictions significantly exceed the averages from 1991 to 2020 and follow on the heels of an active 2023 season. While CSU’s forecast does not detail specific storm paths, it does highlight a well-above-average probability of major hurricanes making landfall along the U.S. coastline, including Florida and the Caribbean.

La Niña conditions, characterized by cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, are known to decrease wind shear in the Atlantic, thereby enhancing the potential for tropical cyclone formation.

According to CSU senior research scientist Philip Klotzbach, even the slowest warming rate from now until the peak season points to sea-surface temperatures being among the top five warmest on record.

“The team predicts that 2024 hurricane activity will be about 170 percent of the average season from 1991–2020. By comparison, 2023’s hurricane activity was about 120 percent of the average season,” CSU’s report reads.

Historically, seasons influenced by La Niña have resulted in higher-than-average storm activity. This was observed in the record-setting 2005 and 2020 hurricane seasons, each producing 31 tropical systems. Porter emphasized the growing concerns over these conditions, which could make the second half of the 2024 season particularly tumultuous.

In Florida, which has borne the brunt of numerous storms across recent years, Hurricane Idalia, a Category 3 storm, made landfall on Aug. 30 near Keaton Beach in Taylor County and served as the strongest storm to make landfall over Florida last hurricane season.

While the storm mainly hit less populated areas, it wreaked havoc in smaller communities such as Perry and Cedar Key. The hurricane’s aftermath saw significant wind damage ranging from residential roof losses to extensive damage in commercial structures. Coastal areas, especially, felt the after effects of storm surge impacts with considerable damage to manufactured and residential homes.

The university’s prediction is compounded by a February forecast issued by AccuWeather that similarly warns of an active hurricane season in the Atlantic basin. The meteorology service referred to the coming storm season as a “potential blockbuster,” citing a convergence of climatic conditions that could lead to a surge in tropical storm and hurricane activity.

“The current El Niño pattern that is in place is forecast to transition into a La Niña pattern during the second half of the hurricane season,” AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter said.


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