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Hot Atlantic: The hurricane region is already reaching August-like water temperatures

Bill Kearney, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The brutal heat of May has felt like August in Florida, with heat index numbers topping highs that you’d normally expect at summer’s peak. The phenomenon is occurring at sea, too, and that’s bad news for hurricane season.

Sea-surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, particularly in the Main Development Region for hurricanes, an area that runs from the west coast of Africa to the Gulf of Mexico, are two-and-a-half months ahead of schedule. The area is currently as hot as it normally is in August (2013-2023 average).

“On May 20, the ocean heat content in the Main Development Region (MDR) of the Atlantic is now where it normally would be on Aug. 10,” wrote University of Miami Climatologist Brian McNoldy on X.

The early warming has sparked concern among meteorologists.

Warm waters fuel hurricanes, and this season is expected to already be an active one due to a pending La Niña.

The result of all this hot-water? Predictions of a very strong hurricane season by both the University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 

NOAA has forecast:

—17 to 25 named tropical storms for 2024 with minimum sustained winds of 39 mph. The average is 14.

—Eight to 13 hurricanes with sustained wind speeds of at least 74 mph. The average year has seven.

—Four to seven major hurricanes with sustained winds over 111 mph. The average is three.

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©2024 South Florida Sun Sentinel. Visit at sun-sentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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