‘Explosive’ hurricane forecast predicts over 20 named storms for 2024 season

Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

Hurricane Dorian in 2019.



THE Atlantic 2024 hurricane season, expected to begin in less than two months, has been forecast to be “explosive”, with weather forecasting company AccuWeather projecting 20 to 25 named storms, and eight to 12 hurricanes – with four to seven of those expected to be major hurricanes.

It has been reported that meteorologists could run out of names for hurricanes and tropical storms.

According to an article posted on AccuWeather, the “super-charged hurricane season could spawn a near-record number of storms” this year with AccuWeather’s lead hurricane forecaster, Alex DaSilva, saying sea-surface temperatures are “well above” historical averages, particularly naming the Caribbean as one of the regions in which this tem- perature rise has occurred.

Forecasters from AccuWeather advised that preparation for “a frenzy of tropical systems” should begin now.

Chief meteorological officer Kaylinda Ward-Forbes, though she acknowledged the validity of AccuWeather’s prediction, cautioned away from sensationalism, wanting to wait until other weather forecast institutes such as Colorado State University and National Hurricane Centre (NHC) forecasters to release their predictions, which is expected to be sometime this month.

“More than likely, they probably would also go for it being an above-normal season based on what is happening globally in terms of us moving from the El Nino phase to the La Nina,” Mrs Ward-Forbes said.

“With the La Nina phase, there’s less wind-shear, meaning that there’s less winds in the upper levels if there is a system that causes it to grow.

When El Nino is present, the winds in the upper levels are stronger, so it tends to shear or tear the hurricanes apart, now, that feature is the main reason why they’re expecting the season to be above normal, but in terms of numbers [of hurricanes], we tend to go with the Colorado State [University] and the National Hurricane Centre.”

She warned that no matter if a hurricane season is “active or not so active”, it only takes one hurricane to cause devastation.

“Having the prediction is really good, but what we as Bahamians need to focus on is that the hurricane season is coming, and our best bet is to always have ourselves prepared,” she said,

The director of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Captain Stephen Russell, told The Tribune that though hurricane preparation is an all-year-round activity, with 25 shelters in New Providence already inspected from last month, there is more being done as the hurricane season draws near.

He said: “Shelter management training is going on now in collaboration with the Defence Force and some of our departments, so it’s a whole series of things going on right now.”

In March last year, the US government donated 28 generators and six reverse osmosis systems to The Bahamas in a support package reported to be valued at $600,000.

Capt Russell said they are in the process of installing those generators. It is expected that generators are to be installed at shelters on the islands of Abaco, Acklins, Andros, Cat Island, Exuma, Mayaguana, and Crooked Island.

When asked about the National Youth Guard (NYG) programme, an initiative to create a corps of young Bahamians equipped with the skills to respond to emergencies and disasters by supporting public and private agencies, Capt Russell said the second cohort from that programme, made up of people from different Family Islands, have been trained to assist in times of both natural and man-made disaster situations.

“The last group are now in an on-job training programme and hopefully in time with exposure they can be called in to assist or support in our disaster programme wherever they are in the Family Islands, cause some came in from the islands – the first cohort was trained in Grand Bahama, so we hope to be able to call upon them to assist and appear to our communities for pending disasters,” he said.

Last year, at the end of March, Prime Minister Philip Davis expressed his belief that had the NYG been implemented in 2019, lives could have been saved during Hurricane Dorian.


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