NOAA predicts above-normal 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, posing risks for Florida

by | May 23, 2024

NOAA has forecasted an above-normal 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, predicting 17 to 25 named storms with 8 to 13 becoming hurricanes and 4 to 7 escalating to major hurricanes, due to factors such as La Niña conditions and near-record warm sea surface temperatures.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasted an above-normal 2024 Atlantic hurricane season on Thursday, raising concerns for Florida.

Hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, has an 85 percent chance of above-normal activity, according to the agency. NOAA predicts 17 to 25 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher. Of these, 8 to 13 could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher.

Additionally, 4 to 7 storms may escalate to major hurricanes, reaching Category 3 or higher, with winds exceeding 111 mph. According to the issued report, forecasters hold a 70 percent confidence in these ranges.

The forecast is influenced by several factors, including the development of La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean, which reduces wind shear, allowing hurricanes to form more easily. Near-record warm sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic and Caribbean provide energy for storms. Reduced Atlantic trade winds also contribute to a conducive environment for hurricane activity.

“The upcoming Atlantic hurricane season is expected to have above-normal activity due to a confluence of factors, including near-record warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, development of La Nina conditions in the Pacific, reduced Atlantic trade winds and less wind shear, all of which tend to favor tropical storm formation,” NOAA’s report states.

NOAA’s forecast supplement’s a report published by Colorado State University (CSU) in April that predicted an “extremely active” hurricane season for 2024, with Florida squarely in the potential path of heightened storm activity.

The university’s forecast anticipates 23 named storms, 11 hurricanes, and five reaching major hurricane status. 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 highlights a well-above-average probability of major hurricanes making landfall along the U.S. coastline, including Florida and the Caribbean.

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.


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