Prepare Now for ‘Extremely Active Hurricane Season’

Prepare Now for ‘Extremely Active Hurricane Season’

Researchers at Colorado State University are forecasting an extremely active 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, which starts June 1 and lasts until Nov. 30. According to their report released on April 4, they anticipate 23 named storms, 11 hurricanes and five major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale).

These numbers are well above the 1991-2020 averages of 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

The CSU team cites record warm sea surface temperatures in the tropical and eastern subtropical Atlantic as a primary factor contributing to their prediction of a hyperactive season. As stated in their report:

“Sea surface temperatures in the eastern and central Atlantic are currently at record warm levels and are anticipated to remain well above average for the upcoming hurricane season. A warmer-than-normal tropical Atlantic provides a more conducive dynamic and thermodynamic environment for hurricane formation and intensification.”

Another key factor is the anticipated transition from the current El Niño conditions to a La Niña pattern by the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season (August-October). La Niña typically decreases upper-level westerly winds across the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic, favoring hurricane formation and intensification.

The CSU team also emphasizes that their April forecast has a higher-than-normal confidence level, given the robust signals from their primary predictors. However, conditions can change between April and the peak of the season.

The forecast also includes the probability of major hurricanes making landfall along the U.S. coastline and in the Caribbean. CSU predicts a 62% chance of at least one major hurricane striking the entire U.S. coastline, a 34% chance for the U.S. East Coast, a 42% chance for the Gulf Coast, and a 66% chance for the Caribbean. These probabilities are well above their long-term averages.

As the hurricane season approaches, Fairfax County residents should prepare by stocking up on emergency supplies, being prepared to secure their homes and having an evacuation plan in place. Areas like Mount Vernon that have sometimes experienced flooding could be more vulnerable to tropical storms.

Hurricane Season Safety Tips

• Stay informed: Monitor weather reports and follow instructions from local authorities. Sign up for severe weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts.

• Prepare an emergency kit: Include essentials like non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, and batteries. Our Department of Emergency Management and Security has more information.

• Secure your home: Be prepared to clear loose objects from your yard, trim trees and shrubs and board up windows.

• Know your evacuation routes: Identify safe shelters and have a plan to get there if ordered to evacuate.

• Protect important documents: Store essential documents in waterproof containers or have digital backups.

• Have a communication plan: Establish a way to stay in touch with family members in case of separation.

• Pet preparedness: Have a plan for your pets, including supplies and potential sheltering options.

Remember, it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for your community. Thorough preparations should be made every season, regardless of predicted activity.

Source: Fairfax County Emergency Information