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Hurricanes Idalia and Franklin captured by NOAA's GOES West satellite, August 29, 2023. Photo: NOAA

Hurricanes Idalia and Franklin captured by NOAA's GOES West satellite, August 29, 2023. Photo: NOAA

Conditions Ripe for Extremely Active Atlantic Hurricane Season in 2024

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1856
April 8, 2024

The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be exceptionally active, according to researchers at Colorado State University. In their initial forecast, they predict 11 hurricanes, marking the highest prediction for their April outlook to date. The previous record forecast was for nine hurricanes.

The CSU Tropical Weather and Climate team is predicting a total of 23 named storms for the season, which begins on June 1 and ends on Nov. 30. Out of these, they anticipate eleven to escalate into hurricanes and five to become major hurricanes with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or more.

This prediction is based on several factors, including record warm tropical and eastern subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures. Such conditions are conducive to hurricane formation and intensification, as they lead to lower atmospheric pressure and a more unstable atmosphere.

The team’s forecast also takes into consideration the likely transition from El Niño to La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific by the peak hurricane season from August to October. La Niña conditions are known to decrease upper-level westerly winds across the Caribbean into the tropical Atlantic, fostering an environment favorable to Atlantic hurricane formation.

The CSU researchers draw on a statistical model and four other models that evaluate conditions such as Atlantic sea surface temperatures, sea level pressures, vertical wind shear levels, and others. The models use data from 25-40 years of historical hurricane seasons and make predictions of large-scale conditions.

According to Phil Klotzbach, senior research scientist at CSU and lead author of the report, the 2024 hurricane season is showing similarities to the very active Atlantic hurricane seasons of 1878, 1926, 1998, 2010, and 2020.

“Our analog seasons were all very active Atlantic hurricane seasons. This highlights the somewhat lower levels of uncertainty that exist with this outlook relative to our typical early April outlook” he said.

The report also includes the probability of major hurricanes making landfall: 62% for the entire U.S. coastline, 34% for the U.S. East Coast including the Florida peninsula, 42% for the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle westward to Brownsville, and 66% for the Caribbean.

The team will issue forecast updates on June 11, July 9, and Aug. 6.

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