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Forecasters say US could be hit by 25 storms including 12 hurricanes this year thanks to warm waters in Gulf of Mexico and La Nina weather phenomenon

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The United States is bracing for a ‘blockbuster ‘hurricane season, with the possibility of 25 named storms, 12 hurricanes, and up to seven major hurricanes this year.

Meteorologists with AccuWeather warned of a near-record number of storms in the Atlantic, many of which are expected to directly affect the U.S., thanks to warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico and the La Niña weather phenomenon.

Experts are forecasting 20 to 25 named storms across the Atlantic basin, including eight to 12 hurricanes, four to seven major hurricanes, and four to six direct impacts on the U.S.

These numbers starkly contrast with the historical average, which typically sees 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, three major hurricanes, and four direct impacts on the U.S.

‘AccuWeather hurricane experts have serious and growing concerns about what can become a supercharged hurricane season this year,’ AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter said. 

The United States is bracing for a 'blockbuster 'hurricane season, with the possibility of 25 named storms, 12 hurricanes, and up to seven major hurricanes this year

The United States is bracing for a ‘blockbuster ‘hurricane season, with the possibility of 25 named storms, 12 hurricanes, and up to seven major hurricanes this year

The numbers starkly contrast with the historical average, which typically sees 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, three major hurricanes, and four direct impacts on the U.S. Pictured: the wreckage of Darlene Powell's home after the arrival of Hurricane Idalia in Horseshoe Beach, Florida, last year

The numbers starkly contrast with the historical average, which typically sees 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, three major hurricanes, and four direct impacts on the U.S. Pictured: the wreckage of Darlene Powell’s home after the arrival of Hurricane Idalia in Horseshoe Beach, Florida, last year

‘We have a significant concern of a greater than historic average risks for tropical storms and hurricanes along the Texas and Louisiana coastlines,’ Porter added. 

Porter said the 2024 hurricane season would be ‘explosive’ because of the return of La Nina and historically warm water across the Atlantic Ocean.

‘The current El Niño pattern that is in place is forecast to transition into a La Nina pattern during the second half of the hurricane season,’ he said. 

La Nina, meaning Little Girl in Spanish, usually leads to more tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic due to less wind shear, or disruptive winds high in the atmosphere. 

AccuWeather Lead Hurricane Forecaster Alex DaSilva explain the effect of La Nina by comparing wind shear to a stack of pancake. 

‘A tall, neat stack is what a tropical system wants to be, but wind shear can cause some pancakes to be displaced and the stack could fall over,’ DaSilva said. 

With the opposite effect of El Nino, the faster the transition to La Nina occurs, the more likely the hurricane season is to be active.

The other major factor in AccuWeather’s Atlantic hurricane forecast is a plenty of warm water in the Gulf of Mexico. 

‘Sea-surface temperatures are well above historical average across much of the Atlantic basin, especially across the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and the Main Development Region [for hurricanes],’ DaSilva explained. 

The water temperatures across the Atlantic in mid-February this year reached the same level where they typically are in mid-July. 

And the water temperatures in the Main Development Region (MDR) at the end of January were 65% higher than the next closest year. 

As the days get longer and the Northern Hemisphere heads into spring and summer, the temperatures may only rise. 

Porter said the 2024 hurricane season would be 'explosive' because of the return of La Nina and historically warm water across the Atlantic Ocean. Pictured: Pick up trucks and debris lie strewn in a canal in Horseshoe Beach after the passage of Hurricane Idalia

Porter said the 2024 hurricane season would be ‘explosive’ because of the return of La Nina and historically warm water across the Atlantic Ocean. Pictured: Pick up trucks and debris lie strewn in a canal in Horseshoe Beach after the passage of Hurricane Idalia

With the opposite effect of El Nino, the faster the transition to La Nina occurs, the more likely the hurricane season is to be active. Pictured: a damaged property after the arrival of Hurricane Idalia

With the opposite effect of El Nino, the faster the transition to La Nina occurs, the more likely the hurricane season is to be active. Pictured: a damaged property after the arrival of Hurricane Idalia

Satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Idalia, center, approaching Florida's Gulf Coast

Satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Idalia, center, approaching Florida’s Gulf Coast 

Hurricane Idalia barreled through Florida's Gulf coast as it ravaged through the state's Big Bend region

Hurricane Idalia barreled through Florida’s Gulf coast as it ravaged through the state’s Big Bend region

 

‘Any storms that do form will have the potential to rapidly strengthen, even close to land, due to the exceptionally warm waters,’ Porter said. 

‘We expect that the Gulf Coast, especially the Texas coast, will be at a higher risk for direct impacts from a tropical system this year,’ AccuWeather Long-Range Expert Paul Pastelok said.

Florida Panhandle, South Florida and the Carolinas are also at a higher-than-average risk for a strike from a tropical system. 

‘All residents and interests along the U.S. coast, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, should have a hurricane plan in place and always be fully prepared for a direct impact.,’ DaSilva added. 

AccuWeather predicted as many as 15 named storms last year, but there ended up being more with 19 named storms and four direct U.S. impacts. 

Tropical Storm Harold, which formed in the Gulf of Mexico, made landfall in Texas and put one million coastal residents under a severe weather warning.

The storm also hit Padre Island after it formed in the Gulf of Mexico overnight before it reached the Lone Star state. 

Harold brought heavy rain to parts of southern Texas and created flood watches in the Trans-Pecos and Big Bend regions. It also created a small flood watch near Ruidoso, New Mexico. 

Hurricane Idalia was the storm of the year, which blasted through Florida and the Carolinas, causing at least two deaths and significant property damage

 The Category 3 hurricane became the strongest storm to strike the Sunshine State in more than 125 years, according to CNN. 

Extremely warm ocean water made it possible for Idalia to unleash its fury and reveal its strength as trees and structures were damaged across the states Big Bend and parts of Georgia.   

Harsh tides seen at Seaside Park in New Jersey from Hurricane Ophelia in September

Harsh tides seen at Seaside Park in New Jersey from Hurricane Ophelia in September 

Hurricane Ophelia was next up as it made landfall in the state on September 23 as it first made its way to Easter North Carolina before it shifted to Southern Virginia.

Rainy conditions from the storm then moved on to the east coast in New Jersey and New York and caused flooding.

In New Jersey, winds and the deluge have been causing disruption, and waves near the shore were recorded at 10 feet high.

Officials at the Cleveland Park Metro Station in Washington, DC, had sandbagged the vicinity and all other flood-prone stations in preparation for the storm.

A total of 2,600 people were left without power in North Carolina, and 5,800 were blacked out in New Jersey. 

‘We do not want people to panic. We want them to be prepared and informed,’ Porter said. 

‘A little bit of advanced planning early in the year, before the risks arrive, goes a long way to being better prepared. Then, you’re not panicking when there is a risk. You’re executing the plan that you have.’ 



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