“Extremely Active” Atlantic Hurricane Season Could Be In Store This Year

From June through to November each year, the Atlantic witnesses its hurricane season, when powerful tropical storms are most likely to occur in the basin. This year’s season, however, is set to be an “extremely active” one according to new predictions from Colorado State University (CSU) forecasters.

The team has predicted a total of 23 named storms during the season,11 of which they have forecast to be hurricanes. Out of these, they’ve predicted that 5 could reach major hurricane strength – aka Category 3 or above. It’s expected that 62 percent could make landfall for the entire US coastline.

This is the highest number of hurricanes predicted by the CSU hurricane team during its April outlook since it began producing April forecasts 41 years ago. It also marks a season with hurricane activity set to be 170 percent of the average from 1991 to 2020 – last year’s was 120 percent.

The forecast was developed using a statistical model and computer simulations of hurricanes, which take into account a number of metrics, including wind shear, sea surface temperatures, and moisture levels. This year’s calculations also continued the use of a newer metric called accumulated cyclone energy or ACE, which considers factors like storm frequency, intensity, and duration.

El Niño was also taken into consideration, and is part of the reason why the season has been forecast to be so active. “Current El Niño conditions are likely to transition to La Niña conditions this summer/fall, leading to hurricane-favorable wind shear conditions,” the team writes in the report. 

“Sea surface temperatures in the eastern and central Atlantic are currently at record warm levels and are anticipated to remain well above average for the upcoming hurricane season. A warmer-than-normal tropical Atlantic provides a more conducive dynamic and thermodynamic environment for hurricane formation and intensification.”

That being said, the researchers were keen that some caution should be exercised in interpreting the results. A lot can change in both the atmosphere and the ocean before the hurricane season reaches its peak – a forecast is just a best estimate.

However, they also calculated a higher-than-normal confidence level in the results, helped along by the observation that the 2024 hurricane season so far appears to be showing some of the same characteristics as other active seasons, such as 2010 and 2020.

“Our analog seasons were all very active Atlantic hurricane seasons,” said Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the report in a statement. “This highlights the somewhat lower levels of uncertainty that exist with this outlook relative to our typical early April outlook.”

Whether or not the upcoming hurricane season turns out to be as active as predicted, it’s recommended that people take necessary precautions, particularly on the coast. 

“As with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season. Thorough preparations should be made every season, regardless of predicted activity,” the report concludes.

The full forecast is available here.

Leave a Comment