Hurricane Season Forecast: 2024 Could Get Most Storms Ever

This post, originally published April 22, has been updated with new information

The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season is going to be a rough one, according to weather forecasters. 

For the period from June 1 to Nov. 30, the U.S. government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts “above-normal hurricane activity” in the Atlantic basin, which includes the North Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. 

By season’s end, NOAA expects 17 to 25 named storms (with wind speeds of 39 mph or higher). Of those, eight to 13 are predicted to become hurricanes (with winds of 74 mph or higher), and four to seven could become major hurricanes (with winds of 111 mph or higher).

As the Boston Globe points out, the forecast’s total number of named storms is the highest NOAA has ever predicted in its 154-year history. 

The historical average is 14 named storms. 

Last year saw an “above-normal” 20, according to NOAA. That gave 2023 the fourth-highest total since 1950. (A September 2023 satellite image of Hurricane Lee and Tropical Storm Margot appears at the top of this page.)

Weather watchers say conditions in 2024 recall the destructive year of 2005, when a record-setting 28 named storms and 15 hurricanes developed, including Hurricane Katrina and six more that made landfall.

The main reason why Caribbean islands and the U.S. Atlantic coastline appear to be in for an especially turbulent hurricane season in 2024: unprecedented sea surface temperatures in the eastern and central Atlantic Ocean. Boiling ocean temps fuel storms and can make them more intense. And according to NOAA forecasters, the Atlantic is already as warm as it usually is in August. 

Another factor expected to boost this year’s hurricane season is a transition from current El Niño weather patterns to La Niña conditions.

As explained in the annual hurricane season forecast released last month by Colorado State University, El Niño’s increased upper-level winds often break up storms, but La Niña is characterized by decreased upper-level winds that “result in reduced vertical wind shear, favoring Atlantic hurricane formation and intensification.”

Alarmingly, that aggressive hurricane season of 2005 was also largely a result of the combination of La Niña and rising ocean temperatures. And those temperatures have only gone up in the intervening 19 years. 

Aligning with NOAA’s forecast, CSU’s April prediction also warns of an “extremely active” 2024 hurricane season, with an estimated 23 named storms, of which 11 could become hurricanes and five could become major hurricanes. 

Even scarier is the University of Pennsylvania’s forecast predicting a record 33 named storms. 

Travelers planning to visit Caribbean islands or coastal areas of the eastern U.S. during hurricane season, especially in late summer and early fall (August and September are typically the peak months), are advised to read up on tips for preparing for severe weather from sources such as and the CDC. 

To lower your chances of encountering a hurricane when you travel, consult our list of Caribbean islands that almost never get hit. 

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