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NOAA predicts record hurricane season for 2024

La Niña and near-record warm ocean temperatures will increase storm activity.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued its highest hurricane forecast on record in May for the upcoming hurricane season.

All categories of storms are expected to exceed the typical number seen each year, National Weather Service forecasters announced Thursday at a news conference on the 2024 hurricane outlook.

NOAA scientists predict between 17 and 25 named storms, compared to an average of 14; between eight and 13 hurricanes, compared to an average of seven; and between four and seven major hurricanes, compared to an average of three.

Several officials, including National Hurricane Center Director Michael Brennan and National Weather Service Director Ken Graham, described the 2024 hurricane forecast as the “highest” forecast ever issued in May.

A major hurricane is a Category 3, 4, or 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher.

Near-record warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic and the development of La Niña that will reduce wind shear in the western Atlantic will likely contribute to the increased number of storms.

Additionally, an above-average African monsoon season will help initiate thunderstorms over Africa that will eventually form tropical systems in the Atlantic.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and lasts until November 30. The peak of the season usually occurs around September 10, according to NOAA.

According to researchers, climate change is likely having a significant impact on the Atlantic hurricane season.

Scientists say warming ocean surface temperatures due to human-induced climate change are likely fueling more powerful tropical cyclones with more extreme precipitation.

The destructive power of individual tropical storms through storm surge is amplified by sea level rise, which most likely has a substantial contribution on a global scale due to climate change.

Precipitation rates from tropical storms are also expected to increase due to increased atmospheric moisture associated with global warming, as a warming atmosphere can retain more water.

The proportion of Category 4 and 5 tropical storms has increased likely due to more frequent, rapid intensification (when hurricanes rapidly strengthen as they approach land) and is expected to increase further, research shows.

The most recent studies project that the total number of tropical storms each year will decrease or remain approximately the same, but those that do form will be more intense, both in strength and impacts.

Fewer cyclones across all oceans could be attributed to warming higher in the atmosphere, in addition to surface warming, researchers told ABC News. With less temperature difference as you go higher in the atmosphere, there is less chance of generating storms.

“With the anticipation of another active hurricane season on the horizon, insurers and homeowners should do everything they can to prepare and mitigate as much risk as possible,” said CoreLogic, a real estate solutions firm that plans to release a report from risk of hurricanes next week. ABC News in a statement via email.

ABC News’ Daniel Amarante, Melissa Griffin, Dan Peck and Ginger Zee contributed to this report.

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