With Atlantic Ocean temperatures at summer-like conditions already this year in the main development region of the tropics, tropical scientists are very concerned about the likelihood of a very active Atlantic tropical season this year, especially if El Nino decays quickly and is replaced by La Nina. CNN has a good discussion on this here. Last year, the ocean was also very warm, resulting in the growth of many storms, but most of those remained out to sea since the El Nino subtropical jet stream prevented the development and movement of storms into the western basin and the Gulf of Mexico (with a few exceptions like Hurricane Idalia).

This year, with no jet stream overhead to keep storms from developing, we could see a lot more activity over the Southeast, leading to the potential for catastrophic wind damage and flooding in areas where the storms make landfall. Producers might want to spend extra time this year preparing for extreme weather conditions and even considering the purchase of hurricane insurance if it is not too expensive, although generally I don’t think it pays off very often because of the restrictions in the way it is usually written. None of the official sources for hurricane predictions have released their expectations for the upcoming season yet, but some unofficial sources I have seen indicate 20 or more named storms are likely this year, although as usual we don’t know where they will go or how strong they will be. But with a very warm ocean, they are more likely to strengthen rapidly to a higher intensity than they would with a cooler ocean.