SST Anomalies for 3/12/24

Forecasters Predict Very Active 2024 Hurricane Season in Gulf

In January, I published a post about a British firm,, that predicted an extreme 2024 hurricane season. It’s still early in the year, so any forecasts have a higher-than-normal degree of uncertainty.

However, more and more forecasters and model runs are pointing to the alignment of several factors that increase hurricane/tropical activity. They include the rapid onset of La Niña, warmer than normal sea surface temperatures, lower-than-normal barometric pressures in the Gulf of Mexico and more.

La Niña Favors More Storms in Gulf

Very few tropical systems made landfall in the continental U.S. last year thanks to a strong El Niño, which tends to disrupt storms in this latitude.

However, the waning of El Niño and the rapid onset of La Niña decreases wind shear in the Atlantic. This lets more storms form and enter the Caribbean and Gulf as opposed to pushing them toward the mid-Atlantic or tearing them apart. And that supports an aggressive forecast for the 2024 Hurricane Season.

From Hurricane Info by Meteorologist Reuben Garcia. Tracks of Hurricanes during La Niña years. Video showed far fewer storms in Gulf during peak El Niño years.

Warmer-Than-Normal Sea Surface Temperatures

Warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Basin also favor the formation of more hurricanes. Currently, temperatures are more typical of July than March.

Warmer water temps provide more fuel for storms and help them intensify more rapidly. This can lead to the formation of more major hurricanes and hurricanes that form closer to shore with little warning.

From Hurricane Info by Meteorologist Reuben Garcia. European Model suggest extremely high probability of warmer than normal sea surface temps going into the peak of hurricane season.
NOAA’s sea surface temperature anomaly chart for March 12, 2024, shows temps 2 to 4 degrees celsius above normal from Galveston to West Africa.

This may be related to the warmest winter on record – 5.4 degrees above average through February, according to NOAA.

Below Normal Barometric Pressures in Gulf and Caribbean

The European Model is also suggesting something not seen in recent years – below normal barometric pressures in the Gulf and Caribbean.

From Hurricane Info by Meteorologist Reuben Garcia. Long-range European Model run suggests low barometric pressures in Gulf during hurricane season.

Other Factors Consistently Suggest Above-Normal Season

According to Garcia, the European model is also suggesting above normal precipitation in the Gulf and Caribbean and 50% more hurricanes than usual and 70% more accumulated cyclonic energy than usual for the Atlantic. That’s more cyclonic energy than the European model has ever predicted! And it has a pretty good track record in that department.

Garcia also points out that the most recent long-range runs of North American models are largely consistent with the European model.

Many Forecasters Agree

For many of the same reasons:

Colorado State University and the National Hurricane Center won’t release their predictions for another month or two when uncertainty is reduced.

It’s important to note that all of these forecasts are Atlantic-basin wide and probabilistic. They predict the probable volume of activity in the hemisphere, not when or where specific storms will make landfall.

More news to follow as it becomes available.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/13/24

2388 Days since Hurricane Harvey