NOAA's May Hurricane Forecast Is Biggest Ever

It predicts up to 25 named Atlantic storms
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2024 11:00 AM CDT
NOAA: Hurricane Season Could Be an 'Extraordinary' One
Nearly all of the experts think 2024 will be one of the busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

It's an ominous pronouncement: "The forecast for named storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes is the highest NOAA has ever issued for the May outlook," said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad in a Thursday news conference. NOAA predicts eight to 13 hurricanes and 17 to 25 named Atlantic storms, meaning those with winds speeds of 39mph or above. "This season is looking to be an extraordinary one in a number of ways," Spinrad added. CBS News reports the season runs from June 1 to November 30. And as NBC News points out, NOAA isn't alone in its stance. More:

  • The overall sentiment: NBC cites a hurricane prediction tracker that rounds up early hurricane forecasts from 23 centers. The current average suggests five major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher), 11 hurricanes, and 23 named storms.
  • How that compares to the norm: NOAA sees an 85% chance of an above-normal season, a 10% chance of a near-normal season, and a 5% chance of a below-normal season. The New York Times reports an average hurricane season sees 14 named storms in the Atlantic, with seven of them hurricanes and three of those major hurricanes.
  • About the forecast: As the Times explains, NOAA usually releases a May forecast and then updates in in August. Previously, its strongest May forecast came in 2010, when it called for 14 to 23 named storms. There ended up being 19.
  • What's different about this year: Colorado State University meteorologist Philip Klotzbach explains last year was a "clash of the Titans," with warm sea-surface temperatures being tempered by a strong El Nino, per NBC. But in 2024, "the Atlantic is still super hot and El Nino is gone, so everything is pulling the same direction."
(More hurricane stories.)

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