How Communities Can Brace Themselves for an Active Hurricane Season

CEE/MES Professor Qin Jim Chen provides insights into what NOAA and university researchers expect to be a significantly active 2024 hurricane season. Using past hurricanes as a reference, he also details the varying degrees of resiliency among different communities.

This article originally appeared on Northeastern Global News. It was published by Cesareo Contreras. Main photo: Nearly all the experts think 2024 will be one of the busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record. AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Why is 2024 predicted to be one of the most active hurricane seasons in history? And how can communities be more resilient?

The predictions are out, and it looks like this year’s Atlantic hurricane season will be one of the most active in recorded history.

In an outlook report released Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast an 85% chance of an above-normal hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

It predicts there will be around 17 to 25 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher during the six-month period.

“Of those, 8 to 13 are forecast to become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 4 to 7 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher),” the report reads.

NOAA’s report comes a week after The Weather Company and Atmospheric G2 released their own predictions noting that the “2024 hurricane season will likely be one of the most active on record.”

The companies forecast that 25 named storms, 12 hurricanes and six major hurricanes are expected.

Jim Chen, professor of marine and environmental sciences, says this year’s hurricane season will be very active. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

“All the predictions from NOAA and university researchers are predicting a very active, some are even saying, extremely active hurricane season,” says Jim Chen, Northeastern University professor in civil and environmental engineering and marine and environmental sciences. “That’s bad news for a lot of people living along the coast.”

“On average, we have 13 to 14 tropical cyclones (that include tropical storms and hurricanes) a year,” he adds. “But you do have active seasons that could go up to 30.”

Chen says there are many factors that can be attributed to the predicted hyperactivity, including La Nina weather conditions, a phenomenon used to describe “the periodic cooling of ocean surface temperatures in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific,” according to NOAA.

The agency notes that La Nina conditions make for a good hotbed for hurricanes since they make it challenging for wind shears to form in the tropical region.

Another important factor is the warming of ocean temperatures, Chen explains. Ocean temperatures have been on the rise for more than a year, causing great concern for the scientific community and the impact these conditions will have on the formation of hurricanes.

“When the ocean temperature is high, hurricanes gain more energy from the ocean,” he says. “Right now the ocean temperatures, especially in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, are higher than normal.”

Read full story at Northeastern Global News

Related Departments:Civil & Environmental Engineering