An Active Hurricane Season and Extreme Heat Expected Across the U.S. this Summer

While hurricane season doesn’t officially start for another month, this season is already capturing early attention with changing climate patterns and other indicators of a potentially active season.

If high winds and potential downpours don’t impact your region, there is a high chance that extreme heat will. DTN weather experts recently held the 2024 Summer and Tropical Weather Outlook risk assessment that shares insights for what to expect this summer and potential impacts to utilities, aviation, and public safety organizations.


2023 Season Recap

Before sharing this year’s outlook, Nathan Hamblin, Weather Risk Communicator for the long-range team at DTN, presented a 2023 recap noting that last year had an above-average number of tropical storms with 20 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher).

These storms resulted in over $4 billion in damage with Hurricane Idalia contributing to most of the damage. Last year was also the second straight year where no storms occurred before the traditional June 1 season start.


2024 Tropical Storm Forecast

Even greater than 2023, this year expects to be above average with conditions favorable for tropical storm development. If accurate, the DTN forecast would be one of the most active seasons on record with 25 named storms, 12 hurricanes, and five major hurricanes. The DTN long-range forecast team also anticipates that storms may linger later into the calendar year.

“The DTN forecast indicates this could be one of the most active seasons on record with 25 named storms, 12 hurricanes, and five major hurricanes.”

“With the climate pattern likely changing to La Niña later in the summer there is typically less windshear, which can suppress activity,” Hamblin said. “Combined with large-scale rising air motion across the tropics and the extraordinarily warm water in the Atlantic conditions are favorable conditions for tropical storm development.”

Hamblin also warned that the models suggest an above average chance of rapid intensification of storms.

Typically, hurricanes weaken when they make landfall, but new research indicates that the rapid intensification of near shore hurricanes has increased significantly.

Hurricane Idalia is a recent example of a storm bringing rapid intensification just prior to landfall. In 24 hours, Idalia’s wind speeds increased from 75 miles per hour to 130 miles per hour, and briefly reached Category 4 status.

The strengthened intensity at landfall can drive tropical storm impacts farther inland with high winds, flooding, and possible tornadoes.


2024 Summer Outlook

While the coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico and the Southeast region of the country need to be aware of the potential for a more active hurricane season, there are other notable weather events to consider across the country.

“We anticipate this summer to be one of the hottest summers we’ve seen in the last 40 years, with the interior West and Plains regions seeing the greatest heat,” said Stephen Strum, Weather Risk Senior Manager for the long-range team at DTN. “The East and West Coasts may average closer to normal in early summer, but even those areas are forecast to trend hotter for the second half of the summer season.”

With that extreme heat, the western region of the country will have an increased risk of drought and wildfire later in the summer. The greatest thunderstorm risks will be in the Midwest and around the Great Lakes, while the Northern Rockies and Plains will see above-average wind generation.


Business Impacts

The increased hurricane activity and temperatures will be of particular interest to utility providers across the country. Strum notes two major impacts.

“…this summer to be one of the hottest summers we’ve seen in the last 40 years.”

“With the anticipated extreme heat for the summer, energy demand will be high across the country, which puts an additional strain on capacity and transmission lines,” Strum said. “And any tropical storm systems that come onshore could impact infrastructure with flooding, rain, wind, and even storm surge.”

For renewable energy sources, he pointed out the above-normal solar and wind generation will be helpful in the High Plains dealing with greater demand.

For outdoor events and public safety, the widespread, above-normal temperatures and increased humidity values will put athletes, outdoor workers and the general public at greater risk for potential heat-related illnesses.

“Whether you are responsible for a group who will be outside, or for your own personal safety, it is important to be knowledgeable about heat safety,” Strum advised, “especially when high temperatures are expected across the country.

Watch the complete webinar here for full details of the 2024 Summer and Tropical Weather Risk Outlook.