Hurricane Season Is One Month Away. Here’s How Things Look Right Now

Weather Daily

The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season is only one month away, and signs continue to point to one of the most active seasons on record.

Atlantic hot tub: The entire North Atlantic Ocean has been breaking daily warm records for over a year, according to University of Miami tropical scientist Brian McNoldy. In particular, the strip of water from the Caribbean Sea to the west African coast where most hurricanes are born has as much deep, warm water as is typical for late July.

If other factors are favorable, the deeper and warmer ocean water is, the stronger a hurricane can become. University of Miami tropical scientist Michael Fischer noted the late April heat content of the ocean was similar if not greater than that prior to the hyperactive 2005, 2010 and 2020 hurricane seasons.

Already an “X”: Last week, a swirl of low pressure in the eastern Atlantic Ocean briefly generated thunderstorms near its center. That drew the attention of the National Hurricane Center and prompted a special tropical outlook on April 24, the first such NHC outlook of 2024.

S​trong wind shear prevented it from developing further. But as Fischer noted, water temperatures were warm enough for it to develop at least into a subtropical cyclone, if wind shear wasn’t there. The combination of wind shear and intrusions of dry air from Africa typically keep a lid on the early portion of hurricane season.

J​une 1 isn’t a rule: June-November captures over 97% of all Atlantic Basin tropical storms and hurricanes.

B​ut if wind shear diminishes and dry air isn’t as prevalent, 2024’s hurricane season could begin early, as has been the case in many recent years since the mid-2010s.

The last time “Alberto” – the first name of the 2024 season – was used was for a late May 2018 subtropical, then tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico which eventually pushed as far north as Michigan as a tropical depression.

T​he march toward La Niña: In early April, t​he current El Niño was described as “skin deep” by Phil Klotzbach, head of the Colorado State University forecast team, in a presentation at the National Tropical Weather Conference.

T​he steady erosion of El Niño continues as we kick off May. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center and various computer model forecasts expect it to dissipate and become La Niña by the heart of the hurricane season. This matters because it’s one of the strongest influences on hurricane activity.

As we discussed in a previous article, La Niña Atlantic hurricane seasons are more active because they have less wind shear that can otherwise rip storms apart, and also favor rising, unstable air that is more conducive for thunderstorms, the building blocks of tropical storms and hurricanes.

2​024’s list of names: As we mentioned earlier, the first named storm of 2024 will be Alberto. The full list of names this year are shown below. Francine and Milton are new to the rotating six-year list, replacing retired 2018 hurricanes Florence and Michael.

If all the names through William are used up this year, a supplemental names list will be tapped, beginning with Adria.


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