2024 Hurricane Season expected to be ‘above normal,' forecast reminiscent of record 2020 season

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The 2024 hurricane season will officially begin on June 1 and we are already looking ahead to a busy season.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center are predicting above-normal hurricane activity this season with 17 to 25 named storms. Eight to 13 of the storms are expected to become hurricanes and four to seven storms could reach major hurricane status of Category 3 or higher.

Storms will be named when they have sustained winds of 39 mph or higher. A storm becomes a hurricane when there are sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. Major hurricanes are those whose winds are 111 or higher.

2024 hurricane season expected to be ‘above normal,' forecast reminiscent of record 2020 season

NOAA forecasters predict an above-normal season is 85% likely. This is the most confidence forecasters have had in any above-average seasonal outlook to date.

The main driving factors behind the above-normal forecast are a mix of an emerging La Niña and warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures across the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. In addition, reduced Atlantic trade winds and less wind shear will also tend to favor tropical storm formation.

"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 and the National Hurricane Center will also roll out new tools for improved communications, hurricane analysis, and forecasts this year. More on those enhancements can be found here.

ATLANTIC BASIN HURRICANE NAMES FOR 2024

The list of tropical storm names comes from an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization.

There are six rotating lists that each have 21 alphabetized storm names. There are no storm names that begin with "Q, U, X, Y, or Z" and the names are alternated male and female. The list used in 2024 will be reused six years later in 2030, the list used in 2025 will be reused in 2031, etc.

If a storm is deadly, devastating, and costly the name gets retired and will never be used again. The World Meteorological Organization would then decide on a replacement name to be added to the list.

The 2024 names for the Atlantic basin start with Alberto and end with William. There are different lists of names for storms in the Pacific basin.

2024 hurricane season expected to be ‘above normal,' forecast reminiscent of record 2020 season

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU RUN OUT OF STORM NAMES?

With as many as 25 possible named storms forecast for 2024 and only 21 names on the list, what happens if we run out of names? Additional storms after the “W” name will take names from a supplemental list of names.

Previously, the supplemental list used the Greek alphabet: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc.

In 2021, after a record-breaking 30 storms were named in the Atlantic basin in 2020, the international committee decided to end the use of the Greek alphabet for supplemental names to avoid potentially having to retire a Greek letter from use.

Of the 30 named storms in 2020, 13 were hurricanes and six grew to be major hurricanes. That year, named storms included nine Greek letter names from Alpha to Iota.

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