Hurricane Season 2024 Underway: Above Average Activity Expected

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11 Jun 2024 4:00 PM

Atlantic Hurricane season started June 1 and runs through November. NOAA has released its forecast for the tropical season. The agency is calling for 17-25 named storms... and 8-13 hurricanes, of which 4-7 are forecast to be major hurricane strength, CAT 3 or stronger with sustained winds of 111 mph or stronger.

This is the highest forecast NOAA has ever issued in the initial outlook in May. There is an 85% chance of an above-average season in 2024. The Accumulated Cyclone Energy index, or ACE for short, is a forecasting metric that predicts strength and duration of wind speed; this year it is forecast to be the second highest ever on record.

This year is expected to be above average thanks to warm sea surface temperatures and La Niña conditions returning just in time for the peak of Hurricane season. There is over a 70% chance of La Niña formation during August - October. La Niña is categorized by cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, typically resulting in less wind shear over the Atlantic and Caribbean oceans. Less wind shear means hurricanes can thrive, rather than be torn apart by strong upper-level winds. In the Eastern Pacific, a La Niña Pattern typically spells below-average activity, which is what NOAA is predicting in 2024.

The other factors are warmer than average sea surface temperatures and an active West African Monsoon. Sea surface temperatures are so warm in the tropical Atlantic that we are about two months ahead of schedule for warmth.

The forecast is aligned with that of Colorado State University which also calls for a well above average season. The official list only has 21 names and the higher end of NOAA's forecast calls for up to 25 storms. If forecasts pan out, there is an alternate list to supplement. The last time additional names were needed was during the record-setting 2020 season when La Niña conditions were also present. Below is the list of hurricane names we will go through first before we head into the alternative names list.

As a reminder, these forecasts only account for the total number of storms, NOT potential paths or U.S. impacts. It only takes one storm to impact you and the time to prepare is ahead of the storm. For more on storm preparation, tropical conditions and alerts, stay with WeatherNation throughout the hurricane season.  

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