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Colorado State’s grim 2024 hurricane predictions

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Dramatic and destructive power: Hurricane Idalia, made landfall in Keaton Beach, Florida with sustained winds of 115mph, causing severe damage in the area (File photograph)

Hurricane researchers from Colorado State University agreed with the recent prediction by AccuWeather that the Atlantic will face a bumpy ride this hurricane season.

They are also forecasting a substantial increase in the chance of hurricanes making landfall, and have cautioned coastal residents to take proper precautions.

The team predicts that 2024 hurricane activity will be about 170 per cent of the average season from 1991 to 2020. By comparison, 2023’s hurricane activity was about 120 per cent of the average season.

The most significant hurricane of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season was Hurricane Idalia.

It made landfall at Category 3 intensity in the Big Bend region of Florida, causing $3.6 billion dollars in damage and resulting in eight direct fatalities.

The CSU Tropical Weather and Climate team is predicting 23 named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.

Of those, researchers forecast eleven to become hurricanes and five to reach major hurricane strength (Saffir/Simpson Category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.

Bermuda’s reinsurance community has for decades played a lead role in the financing of catastrophe risk.

Bermuda companies have paid out more than a quarter of a trillion dollars over the past 20 years in claims arising from natural and man-made disasters in the US and Europe. Much of that has been as a result of high impact storms.

The CSU team has also established landfalling probability for the season:

• 62 per cent for the entire US coastline (average from 1880–2020 is 43 per cent)

• 34 per cent for the East Coast, including the Florida peninsula (average from 1880–2020 is 21 per cent)

• 42 per cent for the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle westward to Brownsville (average from 1880–2020 is 27 per cent)

• 66 per cent for the Caribbean (average from 1880–2020 is 47 per cent)

The report said: “The forecast team also provides probabilities of named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes tracking within 50 miles of each county or parish along the Gulf and US East Coast, as well as hurricane-prone coastal states, Mexican states, Canadian provinces and countries in Central America and the Caribbean.

“These probabilities for regions and countries are adjusted based on the current seasonal forecast.”

CSU hurricane researchers cited record warm tropical and eastern subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures as a primary factor for their prediction of 11 hurricanes this year.

Lower levels of uncertainty: Phil Klotzbach, senior research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at CSU and lead author of the report

AccuWeather predicted last week between 20 and 25 named storms during this year’s season, with eight to 12 becoming hurricanes, and four to seven becoming major hurricanes of at least Category 3 strength.

The CSU team bases its forecasts on a statistical model, as well as four models that use a combination of statistical information and model predictions of large-scale conditions from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the UK Met Office, the Japan Meteorological Agency, and the Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici.

These models use 25 to 40 years of historical hurricane seasons and evaluate conditions including: Atlantic sea surface temperatures, sea level pressures, vertical wind shear levels (the change in wind direction and speed with height in the atmosphere), El Niño (warming of waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific), and other factors.

CSU said the 2024 hurricane season has so far exhibited characteristics similar to 1878, 1926, 1998, 2010 and 2020.

Phil Klotzbach, senior research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at CSU and lead author of the report, commented: “Our analog seasons were all very active Atlantic hurricane seasons.

“This highlights the somewhat lower levels of uncertainty that exist with this outlook relative to our typical early April outlook.”

The CSU team will issue forecast updates on June 11, July 9 and August 6.

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Published April 05, 2024 at 6:59 am (Updated April 05, 2024 at 6:33 am)

Colorado State’s grim 2024 hurricane predictions

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