Get ready for one of the busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record, forecasters say

Anthony R. Wood, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Weather News

PHILADELPHIA — The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season is likely to be destructive and costly and has the potential to be one of the busiest on record.

That's the consensus of several major forecasting services, all of which point to conditions in the tropical Pacific and in the Atlantic hurricane-formation zone that are ripe for a tropical-storm harvest.

The latest to join the chorus were the meteorologists who assembled the outlook for the Weather Channel, who on Thursday called for 24 named storms, those with winds of 39 mph or higher, and 11 hurricanes, with winds of at least 74 mph. Of those, six are forecast to be "major" hurricanes, with peak winds of 111 mph or higher.

The long-term averages are 14 named storms and seven hurricanes, with three of those major.

The Weather Channel outlook has a copy-and-paste similarity to forecasts issued in the last few weeks by AccuWeather Inc.; the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project; and Tropical Storm Risk, a British firm.

Record-high sea-surface temperatures have persisted in the Atlantic hurricane-spawning grounds, and as of Thursday they were running several degrees above normal levels, according to NOAA data.


Human-caused climate change certainly is a factor, with natural variability likely a contributor — and cleaner air, researchers say. Amy Clement, a professor and researcher at the University of Miami's School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science, is among those who have noted that erasing veils of pollutants has enhanced the amount of solar energy reaching the surface.

"While, obviously cleaning up the air is a good thing," said Colorado State hurricane specialist Philip Klotzbach "it has likely helped fuel the more active Atlantic hurricane seasons that we've seen in recent years."

Heat is fuel for hurricanes. The Atlantic was quite warm last season also, but conditions of the Pacific may have had some mitigating effects, and the tropical storm season, although active in terms of raw storm numbers, wasn't especially ferocious.

The evolving state of the tropical Pacific will end up constituting the biggest difference between the 2023 and 2024 seasons, forecaster say.


swipe to next page

(c)2024 The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



blog comments powered by Disqus