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Hurricane experts predict an ‘extremely active’ season

Bill DeYoung

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A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite captured Hurricane Ian as it made landfall on the barrier island of Cayo Costa in southwest Florida Sept. 28, 2022. Photo: NOAA.

Meteorologists at Colorado State University have predicted an extremely active Atlantic hurricane season for 2024. Traditionally, the season begins June 1 and continues through Nov. 30, although in recent years hurricane activity has been tracked in May.

Its unpredictability is what Jimmy Buffett, in a song, called “trying to reason with hurricane season.”

CSO’s Department of Atmospheric Science team reports record warm tropical and eastern subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures as a primary factor for its prediction of 11 tropical cyclones (hurricanes) this year, with five to reach major hurricane strength with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.

The report also includes the probability of major hurricanes making landfall:

  • 62% for the entire U.S. coastline (average from 1880–2020 is 43%).
  • 34% for the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida peninsula (average from 1880–2020 is 21%).
  • 42% for the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle westward to Brownsville (average from 1880–2020 is 27%).
  • 66% for the Caribbean (average from 1880–2020 is 47%).

Read the full CSU report here.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines a tropical cyclone as “a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has a closed low-level circulation.” The four stages of a tropical cyclone are tropical depression, tropical storm, hurricane and major hurricane.

Warm Atlantic water feeds tropical cyclones, “providing a more conducive dynamic and thermodynamic environment for hurricane formation and intensification,” according to the CSU team.

Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend region in Aug. 2023, as a Category 3 storm; although damages were severe, there were no fatalities.

Colorado State University has issued forecasts of Atlantic basin hurricane activity since 1984. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center has not yet released its forecast for 2024. The NOAA forecast for 2023 was issued in late May of that year.

 

 

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