NOAA Predicts Above-Normal Hurricane Season for 2024

Friday, May 24, 2024 by Bella Nunez

NOAA Predicts Above-Normal Hurricane Season for 2024
Hurricanes - Image © NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States forecasted this Friday a more active than usual hurricane season in the Atlantic, with the possibility of up to 13 hurricanes, of which up to seven could be of great intensity.

According to the annual forecast published by the entity every May, between June 1 and November 30, between 17 and 25 storms with winds exceeding 62 kilometers per hour are expected to form. Rick Spinrad, NOAA Administrator, highlighted in a press conference that this is the highest forecast the agency has issued in May, as a typical season records between seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes with maximum sustained winds of 178 km/h or more.

The high activity expected in the Atlantic basin is attributed to a combination of favorable factors for storm formation, including near-record warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic and the development of La Niña conditions in the Pacific. NOAA indicates that the reduction of Atlantic trade winds and lower wind shear will contribute to a season with a number of cyclones above the average of 14 named storms.

Erik Hooks, Deputy Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), warned that storms are already being observed across the country, which can bring additional hazards such as tornadoes, floods, and hail. As one of the strongest El Niño phenomena ever observed comes to an end, NOAA anticipates a rapid transition to La Niña, which tends to decrease wind shear in the tropics. This, combined with high temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, will promote storm development.

Human-caused climate change is warming the oceans globally and in the Atlantic basin, melting land ice, and causing sea-level rise, which increases the risk of storm surges, the state agency stated. It emphasized that sea-level rise reflects the clear human influence on the potential damage a hurricane can cause.

This forecast had already been anticipated several months ago by experts in Meteorology from Colorado State University, who announced an "extremely active" hurricane season in the Atlantic for 2024, with the highest figures of the last 30 years. This pioneering group in seasonal hurricane prediction said that 23 named storms could occur, of which 11 could become hurricanes, and five of these could reach categories 3, 4, or even 5, with winds exceeding 111 mph (miles per hour).

This projection is well above the historical average of 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three category 3 or higher hurricanes for the period between 1991 and 2020. In fact, it is the highest forecast issued by Colorado State University since they began making these predictions in 1995.

Cuban experts also agreed with these forecasts. Specialists from the Climate Center and the Forecast Center of the Institute of Meteorology on the island reported that the 2024 hurricane season would be very active throughout the North Atlantic basin, which also includes the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. "The formation of 20 tropical cyclones is forecasted throughout the North Atlantic basin, of which 11 could reach hurricane category," the Cubans said.

Despite these predictions, meteorologists warn that preparation for the hurricane season is crucial, as it only takes one hurricane to cause significant damage. In response to NOAA's forecasts, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urged communities to take steps to prepare for the hurricane season, recalling the devastation that these storms can cause.

The data indicate that residents of South Florida and other vulnerable areas will need to prepare in advance and stay tuned to forecast updates throughout the hurricane season.

Key Insights on the 2024 Hurricane Season

Given the significant forecast for the 2024 hurricane season, here are some key questions and answers that can help readers understand the implications and necessary precautions.

Why is the 2024 hurricane season expected to be more active?

The 2024 hurricane season is expected to be more active due to near-record warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic and the development of La Niña conditions in the Pacific, which reduce wind shear and promote storm formation.

How many hurricanes are predicted for the 2024 season?

NOAA predicts up to 13 hurricanes, with up to seven potentially being of great intensity.

What are the main factors contributing to the increased hurricane activity?

Key factors include warm ocean temperatures, the transition from El Niño to La Niña, reduced Atlantic trade winds, and lower wind shear, all of which create favorable conditions for storm development.

How should residents prepare for the hurricane season?

Residents should prepare by securing their homes, creating emergency kits, staying informed through reliable weather updates, and having a clear evacuation plan in place.

© CubaHeadlines 2024

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