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Forecasters predict 4 to 7 major hurricanes to hit the Atlantic basin this year

How will Florida fare?


Three days before the official beginning of hurricane season, Floridians should take care and be prepared:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasters are predicting above-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin this year, with 17 to 25 total named storms. Of those, 8 to 13 are forecasted to be hurricanes, including 4 to 7 major hurricanes — meaning a category 3,4 or 5.

Another potentially ominous note is the temperature in the Gulf of Mexico right now.

Heat energy is the fuel for storms, and data from the NOAA station located at Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach shows that the water temperature was 90 degrees on Sunday night, according to 10 Tampa Bay, about 5 degrees warmer than usual this time of year.

Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric and Earth Science, said on X on Friday that the Ocean Heat Content in the Gulf “is the highest it’s been this time of year.”

McNoldy added on Wednesday that “the water temperature measured at Virginia Key (near Miami) has set a new record for the 12 consecutive day on Wednesday,” adding, “it’s as warm as it typically would be in late July.”

The temperatures in Miami are also on a record pace. McNoldy wrote on Sunday on X that there have been 12 daily heat index records already set in Miami in 2024 “and the 6th just in May.”

“This is going to be a very long summer,” he surmised.

The list of 2024 storms names from the World Meteorological Organization ranges from Alberto to William and can be applied to hurricanes, tropical storms and other systems that originate in the Atlantic Ocean. Here’s the whole list: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Francine, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Milton, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sara, Tara, Valerie and William.

Meanwhile, speaking in St. Pete Beach on Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott noted that Floridians need to get prepared for the hurricane season which begins on Saturday,

“There’s a state website, a federal one, ready.gov, you can go on there and it tells you how to create a plan,” Scott said. “You have to have an evacuation plan. You need to make sure that your family knows where you are. You need to make sure that your family has an evacuation plan. So you need to make a decision. Listen to local news. Listen to local officials, when you need to evacuate. The best thing is don’t take a chance. You look at Ian, two years ago, everyone thought it was going to hit Tampa. It hit Naples, Florida.”

Scott and Central Florida Republican Congresswoman Laurel Lee also touted the upcoming sales tax holiday that people should take advantage of beginning this Saturday, June 1 and running through June 14.  Items can be used for hurricane preparedness and will be exempt from taxation (for a list of those items, you can check on the Florida Department of Revenue’s website).

Scott also discussed concerns about the federal government’s ability to respond financially to any emerging natural disasters taking place this summer. For the second year in a row, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) is facing a summer shortfall just as the hurricane and wildfire season take off.

Scott also referred to the Federal Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2023, a measure sponsored by Sarasota County Republican Greg Steube, which did pass in the House of Representatives just last week. The measure provides for Americans who have been harmed by hurricanes, wildfires, floods, tornadoes and the train derailment in Ohio in 2023 with tax relief.

The measure has been stalled in the U.S. Senate.

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: info@floridaphoenix.com. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.


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