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‘Extremely active’ Atlantic hurricane season forecast for 2024

‘Extremely active’ Atlantic hurricane season forecast for 2024

An unprecedented number of Atlantic hurricanes are expected this year during an “extremely active” season, forecasters warned.

The findings, published on Thursday by Colorado State University, predicted 23 named storms in 2024, the highest number since the team began making forecasts 20 years ago.

This included 11 hurricanes and five major hurricanes, of categories 3-5, with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater. The previous highest April forecast was for nine hurricanes.

There is a 62 per cent likelihood of hurricanes making landfall in the US this year. There’s a 34 per cent chance along the US east coast and 42 per cent for the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle to Brownsville, Texas. The Caribbean has a 66 per cent chance of a hurricane making landfall.

Researchers cited record-breaking ocean temperatures as a primary factor, as warm water fuels hurricane strength. 2023 was the hottest year in human history, and 2024 could break that record.

The Rollison brothers Landon, 17, Lawton, 12, and Lane, 11, walk past a canal littered with debris after the arrival of Hurricane Idalia in their hometown of Horseshoe Beach, Florida on August 31, 2023 (REUTERS)
The Rollison brothers Landon, 17, Lawton, 12, and Lane, 11, walk past a canal littered with debris after the arrival of Hurricane Idalia in their hometown of Horseshoe Beach, Florida on August 31, 2023 (REUTERS)

There is also a strong chance for La Niña, a recurring climate pattern, that will play a role in hurricane season between 1 June - 30 November. La Niña tends to reduce vertical wind shear across the Caribbean into the tropical Atlantic, favouring hurricane formation and intensification.

The predictions were based on a combination of statistical models from the UK, Europe and Japan which evaluate 25-40 years of historical hurricane data and conditions like wind, sea surface temperatures and pressures.

The team predicted that 2024 hurricane activity will be about 170 per cent of the average season between 1991 and 2020.

By comparison, 2023’s hurricane activity was about 120 per cent of the average season and ranked fourth in the 70 years of record-keeping for the Atlantic basin, with 20 named storms.

The 2024 Atlantic hurricane forecast, issued by Colorado State on 4 April 2024 (Colorado State University)
The 2024 Atlantic hurricane forecast, issued by Colorado State on 4 April 2024 (Colorado State University)

Hurricane Idalia was the only hurricane to make landfall in the US, slamming into Florida on 30 August near Keaton Beach as a Category 3 storm with up to 12ft storm and widespread rainfall flooding. Eight people died and damages ran to $3.6bn.

Scientists say that the climate crisis has played a role in making hurricanes stronger.

This article is being updated