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Colorado State University raises hurricane season forecast

Colorado State University released its updated hurricane forecast for the 2024 season and it remains active with up to 25 named storms. Two more named storms than their previous forecast released in June.

The season is barely getting started and it has already produced a very powerful hurricane, the most powerful hurricane on record to form so early in a season. Typically, the hurricane season begins with storms developing closer to the continental United States and as the season progresses, especially during the peak weeks between August and September, more storms tend to be born from tropical waves moving across the tropical Atlantic.

Colorado State University is known for its hurricane forecast, now issued by lead researcher Dr. Phil Klotzbach. Scientists point to the extensive heat content over the tropical Atlantic waters that acts as the primary fuel for the storms to sustain their formation and intensify. Temperatures across parts of the tropical Atlantic Corridor continue to be around 5 degrees above average.

Another key ingredient is the La Niña phase. Currently, El Niño is officially gone, and we are under a “La Niña Watch”. This means that La Niña is favored to develop within the next 6 months. The chances of its development during July-September are around 65% and will persist into the Northern Hemisphere winter of 2024-25 with an 85% chance during November-January.

La Niña is the periodic cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean off the equatorial coast of South America. This suppresses upper-level westerly winds and reduces vertical wind shear over the Caribbean and western Atlantic, allowing tropical systems to develop and strengthen.

Colorado State University’s latest forecast calls for 25 named storms, 12 of which could become hurricanes and 6 could be major hurricanes, meaning Category 3 or higher.

We urge you to revise your hurricane plans. This week the tropics are quiet, but know that the tropics can get busy, especially in the coming months, a lot more. Many insurance plans require a 30-day waiting period for it to become active. It’s a good time to check generators that have gone unused in recent years to make sure they’re still working properly. Make sure you know and collect all your important documents in a safe place. If you are in an evacuation zone, know where to go if a storm threatens and evacuation orders are issued.

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