2024 hurricane season


Posted on June 12, 2024 by Great Florida Homes


By Mindi Rudan

Utter just the word “hurricane” to a long-time Florida resident and they’re libel to shudder involuntarily in front of you. Add goosebumps if they went thru Hurricane Andrew in 1992, or the rash of FOUR Hurricanes that left our area with BLUE TARPS pretty much 20 years ago on the dot! In 2004, Charley, Frances, and Jeanne ravaged our state with both rain and hurricane force winds, and then Ivan added insult to injury with winds and major flooding in the Indian River area. And just an FYI—all four of those hurricanes that year originated off Cape Verde, Africa.

But it was Andrew when I remember being in my interior windowless closet with a 2” battery operated color CASIO TV and 10 animals-(HANK STAYED IN BED!!!) during THE NIGHT they “predicted” that the catastrophic Cat 5 hurricane ANDREW was coming straight for Broward or Palm Beach counties. After days of putting away anything that could be swept up into those ferocious winds, I sat almost paralyzed while watching weathercaster Brian Norcross jump up and down pointing at a map and literally implying we’re all gonna die as the powerful storm crept closer and closer to our state. I fell asleep holding up the door of the closet so none of my babies could get out and become airborne should the storm hit us directly.

When I woke in the morning to an almost eerie quiet, no power, no lights and ventured a look outside, I thought: Hmmpf, that wasn’t so bad. Palm fronds everywhere, a pine tree had fallen in both the front and back yard. But I heard the howling winds that night, I HEARD the punishing rain, I thought sure we had just weathered (no pun intended) our first hurricane unscathed. Little did I know.

Once I turned TV back on the reality of what occurred in the wee hours when I fell asleep was that, the “predictions” were off. Andrew turned slightly and slammed face first into MIAMI DADE, particularly Homestead and the Redlands and flattened everything for miles. I sat numb seeing the sheer devastation from the news station aerial shots. And it’s never left me.

The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, and ends on November 30. These dates, historically describe the period in each year when most subtropical or tropical cycle activity occurs in the Atlantic Ocean. And “hurricanes” are defined as a tropical cyclone or a rotating low-pressure system that does not have a boundary separating two air masses. When the storm forms and has winds of 74 mph or higher, it’s considered a hurricane.

2024 hurricane outlook

The NOAA’s forecast (which stands for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (no wonder easier to call them the NOAA!) shows a well-above-average season with 17-25 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), 8-13 hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), and 4-7 MAJOR hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). Forecasters have a 70% confidence in these predictions.

The Colorado State University’s tropical meteorology project team issued their first outlook for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, forecasting it also to be one of the most active on record. They predict a total of 23 storms, 11 of which could become hurricanes, with five reaching Category 3 status or stronger.

Attributing to their predictions is what we’ve all heard about for years- something called La Niña and warmer-than-average ocean temperatures considered to be the major drivers of this year’s overactive tropical activity. And that’s the kicker— the warmer-than-normal tropical Atlantic provides a more conducive dynamic and thermodynamic environment for hurricane formation and intensification.

The NOAA’s outlook predicts an 85% chance of the aforementioned above-normal season, a 10% chance of a near-normal season and a 5% chance of a below-normal season. So just look at those numbers and you don’t have to be a Las Vegas bookie to catch the drift. We just might be in for it this year.

Other accredited forecasters have alarmingly been in agreement including the scientists who make up the TSR (Tropical Storm Risk) for insurance companies worldwide.

So the question is why? Well, the consensus is that THIS upcoming Atlantic hurricane season is expected to have this above-normal activity due to a confluence of factors, including near-record warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, development of La Niña conditions in the Pacific, reduced Atlantic trade winds and less wind shear, all of which tend to favor tropical storm formation.

As one of the strongest El Niño ever observed nears its end, NOAA scientists predict a quick transition to La Niña which is conducive to Atlantic Hurricane intensity because La Niña tends to lessen wind shear in the tropics. At the same time, abundant oceanic heat content in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea creates more energy to fuel storm development.

This hurricane season also features the potential for above-normal west African monsoon activity. And why do we care about that? Well remember the 2004 onslaught of FOUR MAJOR STORMS THAT HIT US one after the other? These monsoons can produce African easterly waves that seed some of the strongest and longer-lived Atlantic storms.

Finally, light trade winds allow hurricanes to grow in strength without the disruption of strong wind shear, and also minimize ocean cooling.

To date, the only other season with this kind of dismal data was the 1969 season with the most tropical cyclones affecting our state, with a total of eight!

2024 tropical storm names

What To do NOW – The purpose of all this prediction stuff is not to unnecessarily alarm people. It’s to warn them, make them vigilant and to ultimately save lives and minimize loss. Being aware of the weather at least from June thru the end of November is a start. If there’s a threat, virtually any TV or radio station will herald it.

Hurricane watch: A hurricane watch is issued when a hurricane is possible. This is the time to start preparing your home by boarding up windows and bringing patio chairs, grills and other items that can become airborne into a sheltered area. People should also put together an emergency supply kit and plan for a possible evacuation.

Hurricane warning: A hurricane is expected to hit. It’s time to act. Make sure you are in a safe place. If necessary or required, execute your evacuation plan. But now is NOT THE TIME TO BOARD UP WINDOWS, it’s the time to get your supplies and make sure you, your family and your pets are SAFE!

Note that many hurricane storm shelters will NOT take your pet. I will never leave mine no matter what. If I go, they go. So if a hurricane shelter won’t take them, find a relative, friend or hotel that in an emergency will. Or several in different areas so if you do have to head out of town. You have a place to go.

It may sound cliche but make a kit and do it NOW BEFORE YOU NEED IT AND BEFORE STORES are sold out.


  1. Water. The importance of food and water (1 gallon a day per person) and 1 for your pets can’t be stressed enough. Keep additional gallons for personal hygiene and cooking
  2. Nonperishable Food. That means easy to open canned or vacuum packed food, shelf stable milk, energy bars, dried fruits, nuts, ready to eat items that require no refrigeration. Some stuff you may turn your nose up at now. 16 days with no electric you’ll count your lucky stars you have it.
  3. Flashlights & Batteries. A no brainer but no lights for days? Flashlights. Battery operated lanterns are a godsend. For the tech-savvy, adding a NOAA weather radio with a hand crank will keep you updated and double as a charger for your cell phone. Note: Candles start fires and in a Hurricane and aftermath, fire departments can’t get to you.
  4. Multitool or Swiss Army Knifes, a can opener, plastic utensils. Collapsible bowls especially if you have pets. A multitool can be a lifesaver for everything from cutting open packages to making minor repairs around the house. Include duct tape and plastic sheeting. These can assist in quick fixes or even serve as a makeshift shelter.
  5. First-Aid Kit. If you get cut or worse, you are mostly on your own in a disaster. Take your time and put in everything you could need. Bandages. Antiseptics. Pain relievers and any specific medications that family members might need. Many prescriptions can be ordered ahead as a three-month supply, which will give you extra reserves in an emergency that interrupts the supply chain.
  6. Cell Phone & Charger.
  7. Personal Hygiene Items. Medicines you take, vitamins, deodorant, hair care items, sanitizer, wipes, toothbrushes, toothpastes, Anything you and your family regularly use etc. These items can offer a touch of comfort and normalcy during the stress of a storm and power outage.
  8. Important Documentation. Identity proofs, insurance papers, and bank details need to be protected. Keep them in a waterproof pouch or ziplock now! You never know when you’ll need them.
  9. Catch all items: Local Maps – Knowing evacuation routes can be a lifesaver. Fuel – If you have a safe space for it, keep a full emergency can of gas for your car. Extra Cash – ATMs might not work, and not everyone accepts cards during emergencies. Put some cash in a zip lock bag and hide where u can easily put into your kit if a storm is approaching.
  10. Pet items. These are our babies. Make sure you have their tags (better yet microchip them now). Who could forget the faces of pets left behind with no hope of reuniting in hurricanes Harvey and Katrina? Get their leashes, collars, harnesses, pet beds, meds, and their canned food & treats, and buy a couple of collapsible bowls if needed for food and water.

The best hurricane survival kit lists are ones that cater to your unique needs. Consider the specific needs of family members — be it infants, the elderly, or pets. Refresh this kit as hurricane season approaches, and remember to check the expiration dates on food and water.

Next Steps: JUST Be Hurricane Ready!

As they say, “Better safe than sorry!” Keeping a well-stocked supply kit is half the battle. Ensuring you have at least a three-day supply of water for all family members is pivotal in times of crisis. While the idea of curating the perfect kit might seem daunting, start with this list and customize as you go. With KNOWING that this year could produce another ANDREW, a ready-to-go hurricane survival kit can make all the difference between distress and comfort.

If you never need to use it, BE THANKFUL! But if a hurricane hits, you’ll be glad you have everything in place when others are scrambling.

Stay safe, everyone!


Florida’s position makes it a prime target for hurricanes. From the infamous 1928 Okeechobee hurricane to the more recent ones, these storms leave an indelible mark on the state’s history. Homes destroyed, businesses disrupted, and countless lives lost – each storm brought a unique tale of destruction and resilience.

1. The Great Miami Hurricane (1926) – Category 4

On the morning of September 18, 1926, a category 4 hurricane made landfall near Miami Beach. With winds up to 150 mph, the hurricane brought about immense destruction along the coast.

Buildings, roads, and homes were washed away, and debris was strewn across the city as the waves crashed through the city streets. The storm continued inland, tearing through land and leaving the state in ruins.

Adjusted for today’s currency, it caused over $100 billion in damages and resulted in 373 recorded deaths — with many believing the actual count to be higher.

2. The Okeechobee Hurricane (1928) – Category 4

The Okeechobee Hurricane made landfall on September 6, 1928, in Palm Beach County, Florida. It was initially labeled as a Category 4 hurricane, with winds of up to 145 miles per hour.

The storm was so powerful that it caused water surges of up to 20 feet, which led to severe flooding in the surrounding areas. The flooding caused by the storm was one of the most significant factors in the high casualty rate of this disaster.

Many of these victims were migrant workers living in the area who had no option but to ride out the storm in their shacks. More than 2,500 lives were tragically lost to this storm, predominantly due to the dike system’s failure, leading to the flooding of Lake Okeechobee – making it the second deadliest hurricane in U.S. history.

3. The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane – Category 5

On September 2, 1935, a deadly hurricane hit the Florida Keys with such ferocity that it remains the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the United States to this day. The Labor Day Hurricane, as it was called, claimed over 400 lives and caused widespread devastation across the Keys and the mainland.

One of the most tragic events of the hurricane occurred at the Overseas Highway railroad bridge, which connected the mainland to Key West. A group of veterans working on a government-funded construction project were trapped on the bridge as the hurricane approached. Despite evacuation attempts, many of them were swept away by the treacherous storm surge.

4. Hurricane Camille (1969) – Category 5

Hurricane Camille is one of the most infamous storms ever to hit Florida. This Category 5 hurricane struck the state on August 17, 1969, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. While Mississippi bore the brunt of this storm, the panhandle faced storm surges, torrential rains, and tornadoes, leading to five deaths and damages of over $100 million.

Florida’s hardest-hit areas were the Gulf and Franklin County coastal communities. The storm destroyed homes, businesses, and infrastructure along the coast. The Apalachicola Bay Bridge was severely damaged and rendered unusable. The hurricane destroyed over 300 businesses in Panama City, causing millions of dollars in losses.

The storm surge also flooded the streets of downtown Apalachicola, causing extensive damage to historic buildings and homes.

5. Hurricane Andrew (1992) – Category 5

On August 24, 1992, Homestead, Florida was struck by Hurricane Andrew’s furious might. With wind speeds sustaining at a relentless 165 miles per hour, this Category 5 storm unleashed havoc, leaving in its wake destruction on a colossal scale.

In a single onslaught, Andrew claimed 26 lives in Florida and went on to become the deadliest hurricane to batter the United States since Hurricane Agnes nearly two decades earlier.

The storm’s impact was far-reaching, with a death toll of 65 across the affected regions and $27 billion in damages. Homestead, once a thriving community, was reduced to ruins—a tragic testament to the unforgiving power of nature’s fury.

6. Hurricane Irma (2017) – Category 4

In 2017, Florida found itself in the crosshairs of Hurricane Irma, a storm that threatened with unmatched ferocity. While the state had previously grappled with powerful hurricanes, it had been years since a storm of this magnitude loomed over its shores. By the time Irma reached Florida, it was a Category 4 hurricane, but its intensity was felt far and wide.

During its course, Irma’s winds reached speeds of up to 155 mph, causing significant devastation. Advanced warnings and extensive evacuation measures undoubtedly saved countless lives, but the storm’s impact was palpable.

Across the U.S., Irma claimed 92 lives, with Florida alone accounting for 84 of those tragic losses. Beyond the human toll, the state faced monumental financial challenges, contending with damages estimated at $50 billion.

7. Hurricane Michael (2018) – Category 5

This hurricane’s impact was felt across several states, including Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas. Florida, in particular, was the hardest hit, with whole communities ravaged by flooding, fallen trees, and damaged buildings.

Michael’s swift intensification was a meteorological phenomenon. More than 43 deaths in Florida were linked to the hurricane, resulting in $18.4 billion in damages.

Mexico Beach, a popular tourist destination before Hurricane Michael, was left unrecognizable after the storm. Businesses, homes, and other establishments were razed to the ground, and the area’s once-bustling streets were now empty.

Mindi Rudan is a semi-retired writer living in Parkland with her husband and houseful of 4-legged fur babies and is the former publisher and founder of Parkland Life, Coconut Creek Life and BocaDelray Life Magazines and the former chair of the Parkland Chamber and Coconut Creek Chambers of Commerce. A sometime event planner, she makes handcrafted custom wreaths, bakes, gardens and writes occasional blogs, articles or custom social media content.Follow her on FB at: