“Highly active” 2024 hurricane season on the horizon, says Munich Re

By Taaza Facts

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"Highly active" 2024 hurricane season on the horizon, says Munich Re

Global reinsurance giant Munich Re has indicated that the 2024 hurricane season in the North Atlantic is expected to be highly active, as current forecasts are suggesting that the number of tropical cyclones could be “significantly higher than the long-term average.”

In a recent report released by the firm, it explains that it is difficult to predict how many will actually make landfall, but the increased number of storms raises the probability of multiple landfalls.

In addition, there is also a higher risk of storms in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea this year, increasing the likelihood of landfalls taking place across these regions.

As per its report, Munich Re is anticipating above average hurricane activity in 2024 based on climatological conditions.

Leading research institutes are anticipating approximately 23 named cyclones in the tropical North Atlantic for the 2024 season, with roughly 11 of those potentially developing into hurricanes, of which five might become severe hurricanes, reaching wind speeds of over 110 mph (177 km/h).

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It is important to highlight that these estimates are significantly higher than the long-term average between 1950 and 2023 (12.0 named storms, of which 6.4 were hurricanes, with 2.8 severe hurricanes).

As well as this, Munich Re explained that the forecasts are also well in excess of storm activity in the cyclical warm phase in the North Atlantic since the mid-1990s (15.7 tropical storms, of which 7.5 were hurricanes, with 3.3 severe hurricanes).

Furthermore, the reinsurer explains that sea surface temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic are currently at record high levels, between 0.5 and 1.0°C higher than the long-term average, and are expected to remain high throughout the peak of the hurricane season.

Another key element to note, the natural climate oscillation ENSO (El Niño/Southern Oscillation) in the Pacific will very likely switch to the so-called La Niña phase, whose long-distance effects also favour the development of severe hurricanes in the North Atlantic, Munich Re explains.

Anja Rädler, meteorologist and climate expert at Munich Re, commented: “Forecasts of storm activity in the hurricane season should always be treated with caution. However, this year we have two important factors that will probably favour cyclones – the development of a La Niña phase in conjunction with very high water temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic, the formation area for the hurricanes. For that reason, the forecasts seem to be more reliable this time.”

Looking back at 2023, 20 tropical cyclones were recorded in the North Atlantic. Seven of these developed into hurricanes, and three of which developed into severe hurricanes in the highest 3–5 category.

The losses caused by the storms remained relatively low despite the landfall of Hurricane Idalia, which caused insured losses that ranged between $3bn-$5bn.

Thomas Blunck, Member of the Board of Management, said: “The forecasts for the hurricane season send a clear signal: loss prevention is crucial. Needless to say, it is impossible to predict months in advance where and when a hurricane will make landfall. But investing in more stable structures always makes sense, since it prevents losses and can save human lives. That is why Munich Re has for many years been supporting the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) in the USA. This organisation tests the stability of full-size houses in a wind tunnel and makes recommendations on more robust construction methods.”

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Taaza Facts

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