NOAA Expects the 2024 Hurricane Season Could Be More Active

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With just a week to go before the 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins on June 1, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released its first prediction of expected storms and their severity. After extensive analysis, the prediction is an 85% probability of above-normal activity this year.

NOAA predicts that between 17 and 25 named systems will have at least tropical storm strength this year, which requires sustained wind speeds of 39 miles per hour or higher. Of those storms, 8-13 are then expected to become official hurricanes with wind speeds at 74 mph or higher.

Between 4-7 storms are expected to reach major hurricane classifications with winds of 111 mph or higher.

2024 Hurricane Season
2024 Hurricane Season (Credit: NOAA)

These predictions are similar to the earlier season forecast released from Colorado State University. That prediction calls for 23 named storms, 11 becoming official hurricanes, and 5 progressing to major hurricane status.

Rather than exact number predictions, NOAA’s forecast is for a probable range. It should be noted, however, that this is a prediction forecast only, and developing conditions throughout the season can have a dramatic impact on storm formation. At this time, forecasters have a 70% confidence in this pre-season prediction. An updated forecast will be released in mid-August.

It is important for anyone in at-risk areas to be thoroughly informed so they can take proper safety precautions.

“With another active hurricane season approaching, NOAA’s commitment to keeping every American informed with life-saving information is unwavering,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D.

The El Nino is winding down and predictions include a fast transition to La Nina, which will reduce tropical wind shear and permit faster formation of stronger storms throughout hurricane season. Light trade winds and warmer ocean temperatures are also factors this year for a busy hurricane season filled with stronger-than-typical storms.

New tools are available to NOAA this year for more accurate forecasting and storm analysis. Two new forecast models are being added to improve intensity forecasts, and flood mapping tools will help coastal and inland areas be better prepared for possible impacts.

What Hurricane Forecasts Mean for Cruises

NOAA’s prediction comes just as the agency has begun tracking the first potential tropical low of the season. While complete development is not expected, it is worth watching as even poor weather that doesn’t strengthen into an official storm can have dramatic impacts on cruise voyages.

Read Also: How a Hurricane Could Affect Your Cruise

For cruise travelers throughout hurricane season, it is essential to be aware of weather forecasts and possible tropical system patterns that might impact cruise routes, itineraries, and ports of call. While it can be disappointing for an expected vacation to change due to poor weather, cruise lines always have safety as the first priority.

2024 Hurricane Season
2024 Hurricane Season (Credit: NOAA)

Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald recently addressed guests’ disappointment with itinerary changes, urging travelers to trust their ships’ captains to make the safest possible decisions.

“Trust our Captains,” Heald urged. “But please do not disrespect these brilliant men (and soon to be women) who have the responsibility to keep the ship and every guest and every crew member on board out of danger.”

It must also be noted that NOAA’s prediction is for overall seasonal activity of the full Atlantic basin, but does not include predictions of possible landfalls on islands, coasts, or mainland regions.

Furthermore, landfall impacts can vary widely based on an individual storm’s intensity, recent rainfall that may enhance flooding in a region, what part of the storm impacts specific areas, and other factors, including the exact landfall location.

When even weaker tropical storms threaten major cruise ship homeports such as PortMiami or Port Canaveral, for example, multiple ships may be diverted or delayed. A major storm might remain far out to sea, however, with tremendous wind speeds and dramatic rainfall but with no appreciable impact hundreds of miles from land.

Stay tuned to Cruise Hive throughout hurricane season (June 1 through November 30) for updates on storms and their impact on homeports, itineraries, and ports of call.

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