Forecasters at the NOAA National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center are warning that there may be above-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin this year. NOAA issued the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season outlook this week, which predicts an 85 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 10 percent chance of a near-normal season and a 5 percent chance of a below-normal season.

NOAA predicts 17 to 25 total named storms this season, of which 8 to 13 are forecast to become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher. Of these, NOAA predicts 4 to 7 major hurricanes will be category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher.

Record warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, the development of La Niña conditions in the Pacific and reduced Atlantic trade winds and less wind shear, are expected to increase the overall risk of tropical storm formation.

“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. “AI-enabled language translations and a new depiction of inland wind threats in the forecast cone are just two examples of the proactive steps our agency is taking to meet our mission of saving lives and protecting property.”

NOAA scientists predicts there will be a quick transition to La Nina conditions, which are conducive to a more active Atlantic hurricane season. It will also further raise the risk of a more unpredictable hurricane season. 

"Severe weather and emergencies can happen at any moment, which is why individuals and communities need to be prepared today," said 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. Taking a proactive approach to our increasingly challenging climate landscape today can make a difference in how people can recover tomorrow."

NOAA experts also predict an above-normal West African monsoon season, which can produce African easterly waves that “seed some of the strongest and longer-lived Atlantic storms.”

Climate change is also playing a major role in the development of more severe hurricanes, according to NOAA. Warming oceans globally and in the Atlantic basin paired with melting ice on land is leading to a rise in sea levels, which increases the risk of storm surges. 

NOAA stated that sea level rise represents a clear human influence on the damage potential from a given hurricane.