The 2024 NOAA hurricane season forecast is unlike any other. See the record predictions.

Updated

The start of the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season is just over a week away, and federal forecasters Thursday predicted an "extraordinary" season with as many as 25 named storms possible.

This is the most storms the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has ever predicted in a preseason outlook. "All the ingredients are in place for an active season," said National Weather Service director Ken Graham at a news conference in Washington, D.C.

NOAA director Rick Spinrad said the Atlantic hurricane season is shaping up to be "extraordinary," with an 85% chance for an above-average year. "The forecast … is the highest NOAA has ever issued for the May outlook," he said at the news conference.

How many hurricanes are predicted in 2024?

Specifically, NOAA is forecasting a range of 17 to 25 total named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher). Of those, 8 to 13 are forecast to become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 4 to 7 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).

Previously, the record number of storms predicted in a preseason outlook from NOAA had been "14 to 23 named storms," back in 2010, according to Erica Grow Cei, a spokesperson for the National Weather Service.

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The record for most actual named storms in a season is 30, set in 2020. NOAA predicted 13 to 19 named storms that year. A typical year averages about 14 tropical storms, seven of which spin into hurricanes, based on weather records that date from 1991 to 2020.

Others predict an active season too

Other top forecasters are also predicting an unusually active season. Colorado State University's hurricane forecasting team, led by Phil Klotzbach, predicted 23 total named storms and 11 hurricanes in its April forecast. That's the highest number of hurricanes ever predicted in an April forecast by Colorado State since the team began releasing predictions in 1995.

Others predicting an active Atlantic season include the UK Met Office and the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, which calls for nine hurricanes between April and September, Klotzbach said.

More: 2024 hurricane season forecast includes the highest number of hurricanes ever predicted

When is the Atlantic hurricane season?

The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. Most storm activity typically happens from mid-August to mid-October.

Hurricane Idalia approaches the western coast of Florida while Hurricane Franklin churns in the Atlantic Ocean at 5:01 p.m. EDT on August 29, 2023.
Hurricane Idalia approaches the western coast of Florida while Hurricane Franklin churns in the Atlantic Ocean at 5:01 p.m. EDT on August 29, 2023.

Disturbance spins in the Atlantic

Although the official start to the season is still over a week away, a tropical disturbance was reported in the southwestern Atlantic on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said. The system, which is now just a large area of cloudiness and showers, only has a 10% chance of development and poses no threat to land.

"Environmental conditions are not expected to be conducive (for development)," the hurricane center said. "However, some slight tropical or subtropical development is possible while the low moves northeastward through the weekend."

50 years of Atlantic hurricanes
50 years of Atlantic hurricanes

Why is this season predicted to be bad?

The season is forecast to be unusually active due to a combination of record warm ocean water in the Atlantic and a potential La Ni?a climate pattern. Warm water gives hurricanes fuel and contributes to a more unstable atmosphere. La Ni?a ? one phase of a cyclical pattern in water temperatures and winds along the equator in the Pacific Ocean ? often leads to more active seasons.

Eastern Pacific forecast also released

Forecasters also released their prediction for the eastern Pacific Basin, saying that a below-average season is likely. An average eastern Pacific hurricane season produces 15 named storms.

Eastern Pacific storms and hurricanes primarily stay out to sea and seldom affect the U.S. mainland, although some storms do hit the west coast of Mexico. Last year, eastern Pacific Hurricane Hilary and its remnants wreaked havoc across the U.S. Southwest.

What happened last year in the Atlantic?

In 2023 in the Atlantic basin, there were three major hurricanes that formed among seven hurricanes and 20 named storms, the fourth greatest number of named storms since 1950. The most damaging, Idalia, tore up the west coast of Florida and made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane.

Contributing: Reuters

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Storms are coming: NOAA hurricane forecast includes record prediction

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