Tag Archive for: 2024 Hurricane Season forecast

NOAA Issues Highest Hurricane Season Forecast Ever

May 23, 2024 – This morning, NOAA issued its highest hurricane season forecast ever. The extreme predictions are consistent with earlier forecasts by other organizations. They also exceed NOAA’s own forecasts from 2005 and 2010, two previous record-setting years.

NOAA’s forecast underscores the importance of starting your preparations early. Hurricane season begins next week.

Reasons Behind Predictions

In issuing the forecast, NOAA pointed to a combination of several factors: extremely high sea surface temperatures, the onset of La Niña, an above-normal West African monsoon and extremely high levels of Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE).

To sum up, more storms will come off the African coast. High sea surface temperatures will intensify them. And a reduction in shear normally associated with La Niña will let them blossom into tropical events. The high ACE levels confirm that the elements above are likely to combine in dangerous ways.

NOAA says it is currently seeing sea surface temperatures in May normally associated with August.

2024 By the Numbers

The chart below shows the number of named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes (Cat 3, 4 or 5) that NOAA predicts.

NOAA Predictions one week before start of 2024 hurricane season.

NOAA forecasts 17 to 25 total named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher). Of those, they predict 8 to 13 will become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher). And of those, they predict 4 to 7 will become major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).

The chart also shows the degree of confidence in the “above normal” prediction: 85%. The probability of an average or below normal season totals only 15%.

ACE Explained

At the press conference, a NOAA scientist explained how accumulated cyclone energy is measured. Forecasters add up the wind velocity measured at reporting stations every six hours, square the result, and divide by 10,000 to make the result more manageable.

The accumulated cyclone energy measured this year is the second highest ever.

NOAA Press Conference

New Cone Graphic Will Include Watches and Warnings

To protect lives, NOAA is enhancing communication, providing new tools for hurricane forecasting, and upgrading its systems.

For instance, the familiar “cone forecast” graphics will take on a new look this year. The maps will include watches and warnings associated with a storm. These can extend outside the cone of uncertainty

The old cones indicated only the probable centerlines of storm paths. But the width of a storm can create impacts far outside the cone. See below.

New NOAA Cone Graphic this year will feature watches and warnings

NOAA also warned this morning that threats can linger even after a storm has passed. For instance, rising water from heavy rains can create inland flooding that traps people in vehicles. It’s not only about storm surge. Remember: Turn around, don’t drown.

Ninety percent of storm-related fatalities occur from water.


Many people are also killed during cleanup when they leave their homes too soon. Listen to local authorities.

They also reminded people to make sure they operate generators outdoors. Many die from carbon monoxide poisoning when operating generators indoors or in garages.

Seasonal Forecast Not a Landfall Prediction

NOAA’s outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast. However, other forecasters have predicted that less wind sheer associated with La Niña will let more storms enter the Gulf or form in the Gulf.

This new updated hurricane strike chart shows landfalls since 1950. Hurricanes can and have struck almost every point on the U.S. Gulf and East coasts. It only takes one storm to alter your life forever. So…

The Message: Start Preparing Now

The time to prepare for hurricane season is NOW. NOAA noted during the press conference that every Category 5 storm they have monitored was a tropical storm or less just three days earlier. That means you have only about 60 hours to prepare for and/or evacuate from the deadliest storms.

People with health or mobility issues need to take special precautions. NOAA offers extensive advice for hurricane preparation which you can find on this page in English and Spanish.

I’ve also provided a large number of links to specialized websites that focus on different aspects of preparedness. They include such things as checklists for generators, vehicles, kids, valuables, pets, etc. Look under the Preparedness heading on this Links Page.

In addition to the Atlantic seasonal outlook, NOAA also issues seasonal hurricane outlooks for the eastern Pacificcentral Pacific and western north Pacific hurricane basins. 

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will update the 2024 Atlantic seasonal outlook in early August, prior to the historical peak of the season.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/23/24

2459 Days since Hurricane Harvey