NOAA Predicts Increased Hurricane Activity for 2024

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What Coastal Communities Need to Know

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued its forecast for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, predicting above-normal activity. This forecast is significant as it informs communities and governments, helping them prepare for potential impacts. Understanding the reasons behind this forecast and taking appropriate measures can mitigate the risks associated with hurricanes.

NOAA’s 2024 Hurricane Season Forecast

NOAA’s 2024 outlook calls for:

  • 17 to 25 Named Storms: These are storms with sustained winds of 39 mph or higher.
  • 8 to 13 Hurricanes: These storms have sustained winds of 74 mph or higher.
  • 4 to 7 Major Hurricanes: These are classified as Category 3 or higher with winds of 111 mph or higher. The agency assigns an 85% chance of above-normal activity, a 10% chance of near-normal activity, and only a 5% chance of below-normal activity, indicating a strong likelihood of a busy season.

Factors Contributing to the Above-Normal Forecast

NOAA’s forecast is driven by several key factors:

  • Warmer-than-Average Ocean Temperatures: The Atlantic Ocean is experiencing near-record warm temperatures, which fuel storm development.
  • La Niña Conditions: These conditions are characterized by cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific, reducing vertical wind shear in the Atlantic. This reduction allows for more robust storm formation.
  • Other Influences:
    • Reduced Atlantic Trade Winds: These can enhance storm activity.
    • Enhanced West African Monsoon: This pattern contributes to stronger and more frequent storms originating from Africa.

Technological and Analytical Enhancements

To improve forecast accuracy, NOAA has implemented new technologies and models:

  • New Forecast Models:
    • Modular Ocean Model (MOM6): Enhances predictions of ocean conditions that influence hurricanes.
    • SDCON: Focuses on predicting rapid intensification, a critical aspect of hurricane forecasting.
  • Upgraded Observation Systems:
    • Enhanced Coastal Weather Buoys: Provide real-time data on ocean and atmospheric conditions.
    • Deployment of Saildrones and Underwater Gliders: These advanced tools collect detailed oceanographic data.
    • Streamsonde: A new device that provides real-time wind data critical for hurricane analysis.

Communication and Preparedness Initiatives

Effective communication and preparedness are crucial for minimizing hurricane impacts:

  • Improved Forecast Communications:
    • Spanish Language Advisories: NOAA is expanding its communication to include more Spanish language advisories, ensuring broader community reach.
    • New Forecast Cone Graphic: This includes inland hazards, helping communities understand the full scope of potential impacts.
  • Public Awareness Efforts:
    • Preparedness Campaigns: Emphasizing the importance of early preparation and safety measures.
    • Coordination with FEMA: Working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ensure communities are ready and resilient.

Implications and Call to Action

With an increased likelihood of hurricanes, coastal communities must prioritize readiness. Here are some steps for personal preparedness:

  • Stay Informed: Regularly check updates from reliable sources like NOAA.
  • Create an Emergency Plan: Develop a plan for evacuation and communication with family members.
  • Build an Emergency Kit: Include essentials such as water, food, medications, and important documents. Ensure the kit is easily accessible.

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