NCSU researchers predict active hurricane season

Published 9:24 am Sunday, May 5, 2024

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The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season will see 15 to 20 named storms forming in the Atlantic basin, according to researchers at North Carolina State University. The Atlantic basin includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

The number of named storms predicted is significantly higher than the long-term average, and moderately higher than recent 30-year averages, according to Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at NC State. The long-term (1951 to 2023) average of named storms is 11, and the more recent average (1994 to 2023) is 14 named storms.

Of the predicted 15 to 20 named storms, 10 to 12 may grow strong enough to become hurricanes (the historical average is six), with the possibility of three to four storms becoming major hurricanes.

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The Gulf of Mexico will also see a slightly more active hurricane season. Of the 15 to 20 named storms predicted across the entire Atlantic basin, Xie’s data indicate the likelihood of five to seven named storms forming in the region, with two to four of them becoming hurricanes, and one to two becoming a major hurricane. Historic averages for the Gulf are three named storms and two hurricanes.

Xie’s methodology evaluates more than 100 years of historical data on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as other variables, including weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures, to predict how many storms will form in each ocean basin.

The forecast was made through a collaboration between NC State’s departments of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences and computer science. NC State adjunct assistant professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences Xia Sun also contributed to the research.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.