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The various factors behind forecasts for an extremely active 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Atlantic Ocean surface temperature map recorded on June 3, 2024.
National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Atlantic Ocean surface temperature map recorded on June 3, 2024.

The 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially began on June 1 and will run through the end of November. While Southwest Florida was spared from a direct impact during the 2023 season, we’re still recovering from Hurricane Ian’s direct hit in September of 2022 — particularly on our barrier islands which were inundated with storm surge — so the power of a major storm is still fresh in many southwest Floridian’s minds.

Forecasters are warning of a high likelihood for an extremely active season this year. Colorado State University's Seasonal Hurricane Forecast predicts 23 named storms, eleven of which will be hurricanes, and five of those becoming major hurricanes — meaning category 3, 4 or 5 storms with winds of 111 mph or higher.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting a range of 17 to 25 named storms, of which 8 to 13 are forecast to become hurricanes, with 4 to 7 becoming major hurricanes.

There are a number of factors at play when it comes to predicting how active a hurricane season will be, the most important being the surface water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Back in April and May temperatures in the region of the Atlantic where storms tend to develop were already what we would expect to see in early summer — and now in June temperatures are already at levels we would expect in August, which is when hurricane season peaks.

We have a conversation about the 2024 season, and the various factors contribute to how active it will be, with Megan Borowski from the Florida Public Radio Network.

And, on the first anniversary of Ian’s landfall WGCU produced a one-hour television special called "After Ian." It featured stories gathered by our reporters to shine light on Ian’s impact, and some of the lessons learned.

It included a conversation Mike Kiniry had with Tom Hall, who listeners might recognize as WGCU's arts reporter. But, he’s also an author and researcher whose books have helped tell the story of Fort Myers history, including "Fort Myers Historic Hurricanes: How Three 19th Century Hurricanes Influenced the Town's Development" which he finished just prior to Ian’s arrival. 

It not only tells the story of some of the major hurricanes that have impacted southwest Florida, but also aggregates information about research into what’s causing storms to become more powerful, frequent, and damaging. We revisit that conversation to round out the show.

Megan Borowski, Florida Public Radio Emergency Network interim chief meteorologist
Tom Hall, WGCU arts reporter and author of "Historic Hurricanes of Fort Myers: How Three 19th Century Hurricanes Influenced the Town's Development"; and "Epic Fires of Fort Myers: How a Series of Early Fires Influenced the Town's Development Volume I" (and Volume II)

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