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Experts Predict a Slew of Rapidly Intensifying Hurricanes in 2024

2 weeks ago
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Rapid Intensification Could Make 2024 the Worst Atlantic Hurricane Season Yet

June 1, 2024, marked the start of the Atlantic hurricane season, and in late February, meteorologists began warning the public about a potentially record-breaking and devastating increase in storm activity. Long-range forecasters expect weather over the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and southeastern U.S. coasts to be volatile during the season’s peak. Many experts predict that we will see 20 to 25 named storms in 2024, well above the 30-year historical average of 14 named storms per year. In addition, there’s a chance that several of these predicted hurricanes could develop quickly and hit populated areas with little warning.

Meteorologists use the term “rapid intensification” to define ocean storms with wind speeds that increase by at least 35 miles per hour in a 24-hour period, using tools like the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale to measure a storm’s wind intensity. As the potential for hurricane activity increases off the Atlantic coast, experts anticipate that a significant number of Atlantic basin storms could intensify rapidly due to high ocean temperatures, low wind shear, and moist atmospheric conditions.

Forecasting a storm’s peak intensity, strength at landfall, overall power, and destructive potential is especially difficult when it grows quickly, so experts are advising people to take precautions now so they can be prepared for damaging winds and rains when the inevitable happens.

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Warming Waters are Driving a Supercharged Hurricane Season

Currently, conditions in the Atlantic Ocean are on track to make the 2024 hurricane season exceptionally rough. Warm water can energize tropical storm systems, and sea temperatures across the Atlantic basin, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean are well above the historical average for this time of year. These circumstances may encourage storms to develop frequently and intensify rapidly as the season progresses.

Across the Atlantic basin, sea-surface temperatures are the highest in recorded history for June. Although cool eddies may develop in the water from time to time, the sun’s rays will continue to heat up the ocean into early September. Many areas of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and southwest Atlantic are already registering temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the minimum temperature threshold for tropical storm development. Off the southeastern United States coast, the depth of warm water, or ocean heat content (OHC), has already reached levels usually recorded in August. Near Jamaica, an area of water 600 feet deep was also estimated to be 80 degrees.


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