Apr 18, 2024 - Energy & Environment

A "hyperactive" Atlantic hurricane season is nearing, forecasters warn

Satellite image showing a hurricane in the tropical Atlantic Ocean in 2022.

Satellite image of Hurricane Lee in the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 8, 2023, Photo: NOAA via Getty Images

A major forecast group is out with their Atlantic hurricane season outlook and it, like previous warnings from others, is calling for an extremely active to even "hyperactive" season.

The big picture: The Weather Company and Atmosphere G2's outlook calls for a season with 24 named storms, 11 hurricanes, and 6 major hurricanes at or above Category 3 intensity.

  • This is well above the long-term Atlantic Ocean average of 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes of Category 3 or greater.
  • It's also even higher than a previous outlook from Colorado State University.

What they're saying: "The outlook for the 2024 tropical season is our most aggressive since we started doing this in 2006," the groups stated in their outlook Thursday.

Zoom in: Forecasters are taking note of record warm North Atlantic waters, tied in part to climate change. Waters are not expected to cool from here on out, given that the warm season is setting in.

  • The best case scenario is that some of the temperature anomalies diminish somewhat, but computer model projections do not show this happening.
  • In addition to the record warm Atlantic, the outlook for a developing La Niña in the tropical Pacific also favors hurricane development and intensification in the tropical Atlantic.

How it works: La Niña events tend to lower upper level winds blowing across the tropical Atlantic, which in turn lessens the wind shear that can inhibit storms from forming and strengthening.

  • The forecast groups also noted that predicted air pressure patterns in the North Atlantic could send more storms than usual spinning toward the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the U.S., though this is a more uncertain projection than forecasting overall storm activity.

The bottom line: Coastal residents and even inland dwellers of coastal states should be making preparations for hurricane season as they typically would, while knowing that there is the possibility for multiple storms to approach or cross near their area this summer and fall.

  • It only takes one significant storm to cause a disaster and make a season memorable.

What's next: The U.S.' "official" forecast outlook will come next month from NOAA.

Go deeper:

Forecasters: "Extremely active" Atlantic hurricane season ahead

"Red Alert to the world": Record warmth in global oceans hits one-year mark

2024 hurricane season's dark omens

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