NOAA Releases 2024 Hurricane Season Outlook, Forecasting as Many as Six Category 3 Hurricanes

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook on May 23. NOAA forecasters predict between 17 and 25 named storms, of which eight to 13 will become hurricanes, with four to six of those hurricanes likely to reach “major hurricane” status of at least Category 3 ranking. Hurricane season began on June 1 and will continue through November 30. The above-normal prediction is based on projected La Niña activity in the Pacific, which weakens wind shear and enhances atmospheric instability, leading to optimal hurricane conditions.

The 2023 hurricane season yielded 20 named storms – the fourth highest since 1950 – despite what NOAA called “one of the strongest El Niños ever observed.” The climate shift from El Niño to La Niña has begun to impact severe weather events in the U.S., as seen in the increased tornado activity in the Great Plains region. Meteorologists confirmed that the U.S. just experienced the “most active May for severe weather since 2011.”

This disaster-filled month comes on the heels of the White House amending its fiscal year (FY) 2025 budget request on May 23 to cut $316 million from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund (DRF). The administrator of FEMA, Deanne Criswell, has warned that without action from Congress, the DRF – which holds FEMA’s operational funding – could become so depleted that the agency would be forced to enact its Immediate Needs Funding (INF) policy, which pauses non-emergency response-related activities conducted by the agency in order to maintain preparedness.

Administrator Criswell urged communities to begin preparations for potential disasters. “With severe weather becoming part of our new normal,” said Administrator Criswell, “people need to be proactive and take steps now to stay safe and boost their ability to recover after a disaster. Building resilience can be as simple as making an emergency plan, talking about it with family and neighbors and staying informed.”

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Read FEMA’s hurricane preparation advice at:

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