AccuWeather forecasts near-record storms this Atlantic hurricane season

By Thomson Reuters Mar 27, 2024 | 12:06 PM

(Reuters) – U.S. private forecaster AccuWeather expects an above-average 2024 Atlantic hurricane season with a near-record number of storms and a greater than usual risk of direct impacts in parts of Florida, Texas and the Carolinas, it said on Wednesday.

This year’s hurricane season, potentially one of the most active in history, begins on June 1, but there are signs that the first named system could swirl even before that, AccuWeather noted in its forecast.

It projects 20-25 named storms across the Atlantic basin this year, including 8-12 hurricanes, of which four to seven are forecast to be major, and four to six direct U.S. impacts — figures that are all above the 30-year historical averages.

The Texas coast, Florida Panhandle, South Florida and the Carolinas are at a higher-than-average risk of direct impacts this season, according to AccuWeather lead hurricane forecaster Alex DaSilva.

“All residents and interests along the U.S. coast, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, should have a hurricane plan in place and always be fully prepared for a direct impact,” he said.

The 2023 hurricane season produced 19 named tropical storms but there were only four direct U.S. impacts. Hurricane Idalia, a Category 3 hurricane, hit Florida with howling winds, torrential rains and pounding surf in late August.

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) in a monthly forecast issued earlier in March said that there is a 62% chance of La Nina developing during June-August, up from 55% estimated last month.

El Nino, characterized by unusually warm sea surface waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, remains in place but has an 83% chance of fading between April and June.

The faster the transition to La Nina, a sister phenomenon which cools the Pacific Ocean, the more active the hurricane season is likely to be, AccuWeather said.

(Reporting by Ashitha Shivaprasad in Bengaluru; editing by Costas Pitas)