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Colorado State University increases tropical forecast

irene.sans

Colorado State University released their updated hurricane forecast for the 2024 season and it is still an active one with up to 25 named storms. Two more named storms than their previous forecast released in April.

The season is barely getting started and it has already produced a very powerful hurricane, the most powerful hurricane in recorded history forming so early in a season. Usually, hurricane season starts with storms developing closer to the continental United States and as the season progresses, especially during the peak weeks between August and September more storms tend to be born from tropical waves moving over the tropical Atlantic.

Colorado State University is famous for its hurricane forecast, now being issued by the lead scientist Dr. Phil Klotzbach. Scientists point to the extensive heat content over the tropical Atlantic waters which serve as prime fuel for the storms to sustain their formation and intensify. Temperatures over parts of the tropical Atlantic corridor continue to run around 5 degrees above average.

Another key ingredient is the La Niña phase. Currently, El Niño is officially gone, and we are under a “La Niña Watch”. This means that La Niña is favored to develop within the next 6 months. The chances of its development during July-September is about 65% and persist into the Northern Hemisphere winter 2024-25 with an 85% chance during November-January.

La Niña is the periodic cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean off South America’s equator coast. This suppresses upper-level westerly winds, and decreases vertical wind shear, over the Caribbean and western Atlantic, allowing tropical systems to develop and strengthen.

Colorado State University’s latest forecast calls for 25 named storms, of which 12 could become hurricanes and 6 could be major hurricanes, meaning category 3 or above.

We urge you to revise your hurricane plans. This week the tropics are quiet, but know that the tropics could turn busy, especially in the coming months, much more so. Many insurance plans require a 30-day waiting period for it to become active. It is a good time to check generators that have gone unused in recent years, to make sure they still function properly. Make sure you know and gather all your important documents in one safe place. If you are in an evacuation zone, know where you’d go in case a storm threatened and evacuation orders are issued.