NOAA: Expect a Heavy 2024 Hurricane Season

May 31, 2024

2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

The East Coast of the US faces a higher risk of some very nasty storms this summer, weather experts say. 

That’s because the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting a very active hurricane season. It expects between 17 and 25 storms. Eight to 13 are forecast to reach hurricane status. And roughly half could turn into major hurricanes with 111 mph winds. An average hurricane season produces 14 tropical storms. Seven of those turn into hurricanes on average.    

Why might this year be more active? Experts cite two reasons. The first is rising ocean temperatures due to climate change. And the second is due to this year’s La Niña. That's the cyclical climate pattern marked by milder ocean surface temps in the Pacific. It often leads to stormier summer weather in the Atlantic. It has the opposite effect in the Pacific. 

“We’ve never had a La Niña combined with ocean temperatures this warm in recorded history,” Brian McNoldy told The Associated Press (AP). He's a weather expert at the University of Miami.  

The North Atlantic’s average temp is roughly 2 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) hotter than at any point in the past thirty years. The warmer waters produce more moisture in the air. And La Niña reduces wind shear over the Atlantic. Wind shear is a change in wind speeds that can stop hurricanes from forming. The changes in wind speed can disrupt their vertical structures. So, more moisture in the air combined with less wind shear can add up to more hurricanes.    

Ken Graham of the National Weather Service told the AP all signs point to an active season. “It’s a reason to be concerned, of course, but not alarmed.”  

Reflect: How have changes in weather patterns affected your summer plans and activities?

If readers wanted to know the reasons behind NOAA’s predictions for the 2024 hurricane season, they should reference _______. (Common Core RI.5.7; RI.6.7)
a. both the article and the infographic
b. neither the article nor the infographic
c. the article only
d. the infographic only
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