Colorado State University (CSU) weather forecasters have raised their predictions for the number of hurricanes expected in 2024 in their highly anticipated July update.

According to the latest forecast, Hurricane Beryl, a deep tropical category 5 hurricane, is likely indicative of a hyperactive season. Beryl has already claimed at least 14 lives, causing widespread devastation in Grenada and Jamaica before striking Mexico's Yucatan peninsula and finally making landfall in Texas, where it left millions without power and disrupted major oil ports.

CSU meteorologists now expect six major hurricanes, with wind speeds exceeding 111 mph (178 km/h), out of a total of 12 hurricanes from 25 named storms before the season concludes on November 30. This is an increase from the April 13 forecast, which predicted five major hurricanes out of 11 hurricanes from 23 named storms.

A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when sustained winds reach 74 mph (119 km/h), with a category 5 hurricane featuring sustained winds of at least 157 mph (252 km/h). An average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, seven of which become hurricanes, and three of which develop into major cyclones.

CSU forecasters attribute the higher-than-average hurricane forecast to two main factors: abnormally warm seas providing more energy for tropical cyclones and the absence of an El Nino weather pattern this year. El Nino conditions, present in 2023, typically generate strong winds that can disrupt hurricane formation.

"While early season storm activity in the western Atlantic typically has little relationship with overall basinwide activity, deep tropical hurricane activity in the tropical Atlantic and eastern Caribbean (such as we saw with Beryl) is often associated with hyperactive seasons," according to the CSU forecast.

In a May forecast, U.S. government meteorologists projected four to seven major hurricanes out of a total of eight to 13 hurricanes, resulting from an expected 17 to 25 named tropical storms. Photo by Spilly816, Wikimedia commons.