NewsLocal News


NOAA forecasts most aggressive May Hurricane Outlook ever

La Nina and warmer-than-average ocean temperatures are major drivers of tropical activity.
Posted at 5:17 PM, May 23, 2024

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — It's official: the most aggressive hurricane forecast ever issued by federal forecasters is here. The 2024 hurricane season starts Saturday, June 1, and if forecasters are right, we could see as many as 13 hurricanes, with as many as 7 of them considered major.

All the ingredients are in place to have an active season,” said Dr. Ken Graham, the director of the National Weather Service.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting an 85% chance of an above normal hurricane season.

NOAA Dr. Ken Graham Hurricane Forecast
Dr. Ken Graham with NOAA delivers the 2024 Hurricane season forecast. Officials called it the most aggressive May forecast the federal agency has ever delivered.

"It is reason to be concerned of course but not alarmed,” said Dr. Graham. “We need to use this time to our advantage to really be prepared for hurricane season."

The expected above normal activity is due to several factors including near-record warm ocean temperatures and developing La Nina, reducing the Atlantic Trade Winds and lessening the wind shear.

"That shear is everything,” said Dr. Graham. “You can have all the ingredients you want to; you get wind shear it's going to knock the top off that storm. It impacts what the forecast is and of course the strength."

Hurricane Ian surge on San Carlos Island
Hurricane Ian struck San Carlos Island, as well as Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, and other parts of Southwest Florida just shy of a Category 5 storm on September 28, 2022.

Water temperatures in the Atlantic are already running weeks ahead of schedule, more equivalent to what we typically see in august.

“You combine factors, so it’s not just one factor,” said Dr. Graham. “Everything has to come together to get a forecast like this. So, you h

ave all the energy in the oceans, we have an active African Monsoon. So, check, check. Don’t expect a whole lot of shear, check. So, you really look at all the different patterns and they all come together to make this big forecast.”

NOAA new inland wind watches and warnings on cone graphic hurricane season
Dr. Ken Graham with NOAA also discussed new inland wind watches and warnings that will be used with the cone graphic the agency typically issues with approaching storms.

But what Dr. Graham has most concerned is rapid intensification.

“Every category 5 storm that made landfall in the United States in the last 100 years, was a tropical storm or less 3 days prior,” said Dr. Graham. “The big ones are fast. When you look at season like this, you could see strong storms with this forecast, the last 100 years, every one of these Cat 5s were tropical storms or less 3 days prior. Several didn’t even exist 3 days prior.”

Remember Ian? That hurricane took three days to go from a tropical storm to a category five right off our coast. This is why Dr. Graham says now is the time to prepare.

"You can't wait until the storm surfaces, because you might not have the time,” said Dr. Graham. “Then you are competing to get water, you are competing to get into long lines for evacuations, the traffic."

Storm-Ready with FOX 4 QR Code 2024
Be sure to download the new FOX 4 Mobile App so you're Storm-Ready for this year's hurricane season.

No matter how many storms happen, it only takes one. That's why you should be thinking about your preparations now. And have the brand-new fox 4 mobile app already installed on your phone, where we'll be helping you to be storm-ready with fox 4 all season long.