Forecasters predict record number of hurricanes

Weather forecasters at the University of Pennsylvania predicted a record hurricane season for 2024 on Thursday, a “hyperactive” season that could threaten the Gulf Coast.

The Penn forecast predicts between 27 and 39 named tropical storms, with the best estimate at 33 storms — the most of any forecast in the 15-year history of the project. An average season usually has about half that number.

“We’ve seen many hyperactive seasons over the past decade, and in just about all cases, like our prediction for this year, the activity is substantially driven by ever-warmer conditions in the tropical Atlantic tied to large-scale warming,” professor Michael Mann, who leads the forecast, said in a statement.

High sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic and an anticipated moderate La Niña weather formation in the Pacific this fall are likely to lead to more storms, according to the forecast.

Mann said his group’s predictions can be used to better prepare for the hurricane season and also speak to greater links between climate trends and weather patterns.

“These results underscore the seasonal relationship between climate and tropical cyclones, which helps to provide context for understanding how climate change is impacting hurricanes,” Mann said. “Since it’s the same basic relationships that are in play on seasonal and longer timescales, for instance, the warmth of the tropical Atlantic.”

The announcement comes after Colorado State University (CSU) researchers, generally considered the most reliable forecast, also predicted a rough hurricane season. The CSU forecast calls for 23 named storms in 2024, significantly higher than the average of 14.

The CSU forecast warns Americans to “anticipate a well above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean.”

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