Hurricane forecast for 2024 predicts more storms than ever


Sneak up and down: “Very active” hurricane season likely, top forecasters Colorado State University announced on Thursday. In fact, Colorado's April forecast includes the largest number of tornadoes ever predicted since the group began issuing forecasts in 1995.

Colorado State Tornado Forecaster Phil KlotzbachThe forecast's author knows what the models are showing him about the hurricane season that begins June 1, but he's a bit skeptical that it could actually be busy.

“We're coming out with a very aggressive forecast: 23 named storms, 11 hurricanes and five major hurricanes,” said Klotzbach, a senior research scientist in Colorado State University's Department of Atmospheric Sciences. “That also reduces all sample guidance.”

A 'very active' season is predicted

“Everything points to a very active season: even warmer Atlantic water temperatures on record and a very rapid transition to La Niña,” he said.

A typical year averages 14 tropical storms and seven hurricanes, based on weather records from 1991 to 2020.

The forecast includes storms forming in the Atlantic basin, which includes the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

Others also predict an active season

Also predicts an active Atlantic season UK Met Office And this European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, which calls for nine hurricanes between April and September, he said. Most storm activity usually occurs between August and mid-October.

“If Bill Gray knew we predicted this, he'd think we'd be lost,” Klotzbach told USA Today last week, referring to his late mentor, a seasonal hurricane pioneer for the Atlantic.

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A seasonal overview from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration That doesn't come out until May, but those forecasters are seeing the same worrisome patterns and temperatures that Klotzbach is seeing.

“Nothing surprises me anymore,” said Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center.

Last year, when many forecasts called for a mild season, there were 20 named storms, Berg told USA TODAY. That's six more than usual Fourth storms on record.

“Our message last year was, 'Don't focus on this, because we know other factors come into play in how many storms we get and how strong they get,'” Berg said. “These signals we're headed for a La Niña, which will support more storms,” ​​he said, and the water is “much warmer.”

Warm water fuels hurricanes and contributes to a more unstable atmosphere. La Niña — a phase of cyclical patterns in water temperatures and winds along the equator in the Pacific Ocean — can affect weather patterns around the world.

What about landslides?

Seasonal forecast models show little correlation with the location of hurricane landfall. Tropical storms and hurricanes are driven in part by ridges of high pressure that form over the ocean.

However, La Niña allows more hurricanes to move westward across the Atlantic, rather than peel north as they approach islands in the far eastern Caribbean, Klotzbach said. It favors hurricane landfall along the East Coast from Florida to Maine, and more toward Florida than Texas and Alabama.

Klotzbach expects La Niña conditions to emerge in the next two months. In a typical climate pattern, La Niña leads to increased activity in the Atlantic region, as light winds in the upper atmosphere allow hurricanes to form large powerful cloud tops that give off their sound, while El Niño drops winds over the Atlantic. Work against those high cloud tops.

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But lately, things in the Atlantic Ocean have been anything but routine. Despite last year's El Niño, the Atlantic produced seven hurricanes, the average for a regular season.

Record heat in the Atlantic Ocean

Sea temperatures in much of the Atlantic Ocean have been setting records for more than a year, and scientists can't fully explain why.

“Obviously a lot more can be changed,” Klotzbach said, but not that much. Although the Atlantic warmed at a minimum between February and September more than it warmed during the same period at any time in the past 40 years, “we'll be the second warmest on record going back to 1980.”

“It's going to be hard to cool the Atlantic at this point,” he said, “unless we have a tropical volcanic eruption or something like that.”

This season may be active, “but that doesn't tell us anything about where those storms might move,” Berg said. “So we might get lucky and keep them out of the Atlantic. But we don't know that, and that's why we have to be more prepared every year because it's 10 storms or 20 storms, where they form, where they form. Action is critical.”

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