2024 Atlantic hurricane season will be one of the most active on record

MS Amlin, a global re/insurer at Lloyd’s, projects that the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season will be notably above average and potentially one of the most active on record.

Climate scientists at MS Amlin analyzed forecasts from 24 research entities, including private companies, universities, and government agencies.

Their consensus anticipates an average of 23 named storms, 11 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes. In comparison, the 2023 season recorded 20 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.

The Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index, which quantifies overall hurricane activity by considering the number, intensity, and duration of named storms, is predicted to reach 204, significantly higher than the long-term average of 123 (see U.S. Insured Losses from Hurricanes).

2024 Atlantic hurricane season will be one of the most active on record

Two primary factors are expected to drive this increased hurricane activity: the development of La Niña conditions in the Pacific and persistently warm sea surface temperatures across the North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.

Unfortunately, all the predictions point towards a potentially active hurricane season in 2024 – with some agencies forecasting record levels of activity for this stage of the year

Ed Pope, Geoscientist in MS Amlin’s Exposure Management team

Notably, forecasts have consistently indicated heightened activity for several months, despite the uncertainties of early-year predictions. Even the lower end of these forecasts suggests an above-average season.

However, it is crucial to note that these predictions pertain to overall basin activity, not specifically to landfalling hurricanes.

Record-breaking activity could remain confined to the ocean, with local weather and steering patterns ultimately determining the impact on at-risk communities, often predictable only weeks or days in advance.

Simon Morgan, Head of Property at MS Amlin

Since 1990, hurricane-related economic losses have soared by $22 billion per decade due to population growth and increasing coastal development

Simon Morgan, Head of Property at MS Amlin

“We’re anticipating the frequency of the strongest Category 4 and 5 hurricanes to climb in future years, due to the changing climate”, Simon Morgan says.

The frequency of the strongest storms, Category 4 and above, is expected to increase. Indeed, previous contentions that the overall frequency of hurricanes of all strengths might decrease are now also being challenged for a number of basins.

2024 Atlantic hurricane season will be one of the most active on record

This suggests that the overall frequency of storms may therefore also rise – leading to more cumulative losses for insurers, and a need for communities to double-down on climate adaptation measures.

The insurance industry must align pricing with the increasing risks of more powerful hurricanes in a warming world to help individuals and businesses mitigate climate impacts.

Investing in advanced catastrophe modeling and research is essential for accurately assessing and pricing these risks.

In the Pacific basin, forecasts indicate a below-average storm season, predicting 25 named storms, 15 typhoons, and 7 intense typhoons, influenced by the La Niña pattern that reduces activity through higher wind shear.

2024 Atlantic hurricane season will be one of the most active on record

Looking beyond 2024, MS Amlin highlights that climate change is exacerbating long-term hurricane risks. Current climate science suggests hurricanes will likely become more intense, produce heavier rainfall, and cause storm surges that reach further inland.

While the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be a very active one, with all agencies predicting well above the average of 14 named storms, it is starting quietly.

For only the second time since 2014, the Atlantic has had no named tropical storms from January through May.

Florida’s sales tax holiday continues through June 14 to help residents save money on hurricane supplies.

Across Florida, the Panhandle could see some showers today, with highs in the mid to upper 80s. In North Florida, there’s also a chance for showers, with highs in the upper 80s.

Nataly Kramer   by Nataly Kramer