NOAA predicts record hurricane season for 2024

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(NEW YORK) -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued its highest-on record May hurricane forecast for the upcoming hurricane season.

All categories of storms are expected to exceed the typical number seen every year, National Weather Service forecasters announced Thursday in a news conference for the 2024 hurricane outlook.

NOAA scientists predict between 17 and 25 named storms, compared to an average of 14; between eight and 13 hurricanes, compared to an average of seven; and between four and seven major hurricanes, compared to an average of three.

Multiple officials, including National Hurricane Center Director Michael Brennan and National Weather Service Director Ken Graham, described the 2024 Hurricane Outlook as the "highest" forecast ever issued in May.

A major hurricane is Category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher.

Near record warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic and a developing La Niña that will reduce wind shear in the western Atlantic will likely contribute to the increased number of storms.

In addition, an above-average African monsoon season will help initiate thunderstorms over Africa that will eventually form into tropical systems in the Atlantic.

The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. The peak of the season typically occurs around Sept. 10, according to NOAA.

Climate change is likely having a significant impact on the Atlantic hurricane season, according to researchers.

Warming of the surface ocean temperatures from human-induced climate change is likely fueling more powerful tropical cyclones with more extreme precipitation, scientists say.

The destructive power of individual tropical storms through storm surge is amplified by rising sea levels, which very likely has a substantial contribution at the global scale from climate change.

Tropical storm precipitation rates are also projected to increase due to enhanced atmospheric moisture associated with global warming, since a warming atmosphere can hold more water.

The proportion of Category 4 and 5 tropical storms has increased likely due to more frequent rapid intensification -- when hurricanes strengthen quickly as they approach land -- and is projected to increase further, research shows.

Most recent studies project the total number of tropical storms each year will decrease or remain approximately the same, but the ones that do form will be more intense -- both in strength and impacts.

Fewer numbers of cyclones in all oceans could be attributed to warming higher in the atmosphere, in addition to surface warming, researchers have told ABC News. With less difference in temperature as you go up through the atmosphere, there is less of a chance for storms to generate.

"With the anticipation of another active hurricane season on the horizon, insurers and homeowners should do everything they can to prepare and mitigate as much risk as possible," CoreLogic, a property solutions firm that plans on releasing a hurricane risk report next week, told ABC News in a statement via email.

ABC News' Daniel Amarante, Melissa Griffin, Dan Peck and Ginger Zee contributed to this report.

Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 1:05PM by Max Golembo and Julia Jacobo, ABC News Permalink