Get Ready For A Hurricane Every Week.

NOAA's GOES-16 satellite captured Hurricane Idalia approaching the western coast of Florida while Hurricane Franklin churned in the Atlantic Ocean at 5:01 p.m. EDT on August 29, 2023
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Hurricane experts could run out of alphabetical names for hurricanes this year as more than 24 are predicted.

Why so many?  World record hot weather around the globe, for example India recorded a temperature of 52.3 degrees Celsius — or about 126 degrees Fahrenheit — yesterday at a weather station in a suburb of New Delhi, has led to higher ocean temperatures.

And with higher ocean temperatures hurricanes form more quickly.

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have made their highest-ever May forecast for an Atlantic hurricane season: 17 to 25 named storms. According to the forecast, 13 of these storms will be hurricanes, with winds of 74 mph (119 km/h) or higher, and four to seven will be major hurricanes, with winds of 111 mph (179 km/h) or higher.

Forecasters have a 70% confidence in these ranges.

“This season is looking to be extraordinary in a number of ways,” NOAA administrator Rick Spinrad said at a news conference on Thursday (May 23). Spinrad noted that 2024 was now on track to be “the seventh consecutive above-normal season.

“Severe weather and emergencies can happen at any moment, which is why individuals and communities need to be prepared today,” said the USA’s FEMA Deputy Administrator Erik A. Hooks.

“Already, we are seeing storms move across the country that can bring additional hazards like tornadoes, flooding and hail.” He added that good preparation will lead to quicker recovery in areas struck by storms.

An average hurricane season has 14 named storms, seven of which are hurricanes and three of which are major hurricanes, according to NOAA. The most active season on record, 2020, had 30 named storms.

Scientists previously discovered that climate change has made extremely active Atlantic hurricane seasons much more likely than they were in the 1980s. This is because, while hotter oceans don’t make hurricanes more frequent, they do make them grow more quickly and become more powerful.

Hurricanes grow from a thin layer of warm ocean water that evaporates and rises to form storm clouds. The warmer the ocean is, the more energy the system gets, pushing the storm-formation process into overdrive and enabling violent storms to rapidly take shape.

Since March 2023, average sea surface temperatures around the world have hit record-shattering highs — indicating that a busy storm season is on the cards.

Scientists also predict that El Niño, which recently ended, will transition to La Niña, its cooler counterpart, by the summer or fall. El Niño is a climate cycle in which waters in the tropical eastern Pacific grow warmer than usual, affecting global weather patterns.

During El Niño, winds in the Atlantic are typically stronger and more stable than usual, acting as a brake on hurricane formation. But if the climate cycle follows predictions and El Niño is replaced by La Niña, it could make for a particularly stormy summer. That’s because La Niña weakens trade winds and in turns lessens vertical wind shear, which is what breaks up incipient storms.

So far this decade, five storms have blown at an unprecedented 192 mph (309 km/h) or more, leading scientists to propose a new “Category 6” strength to describe them.

Sources: NOAA, Live Science.
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