June 1st is a very important day on the meteorological calendar. It is the first day of climatological summer, kicking off the three warmest months of the year on average (June, July, August). It is also the start of hurricane season.

Although tropical systems can form in any month of the year — and they have — the official hurricane season for the Atlantic basin runs from the start of June through November 30.

Tropical storm tracks from the 2023 season. While it was an active year, very few storms threatened land. (NOAA / NHC)
Tropical storm tracks from the 2023 season. While it was an active year, very few storms threatened land. (NOAA / NHC)
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We got lucky in 2023. It was tied for the fourth most-active season on record in the Atlantic, with 20 named storms. But none of them caused direct weather or surf impacts on New Jersey. And only three of them made landfall along the mainland United States. No storm names were retired after the conclusion of the season.

What is ahead for 2024?

2024 Hurricane Season Outlook

If you regularly follow my weather blog, you know I'm pretty skeptical about seasonal forecasting. Whether it's the winter or the summer or hurricane season, too many forecasters try to get way too specific. And, since the weather is a perfect example of "chaos theory" — where one little change in initial conditions can cause dramatically different results — such predictions always prove to be wrong.

Having said that, there are some key signals that can provide broad, general clues to how long-term weather conditions will play out. Blur your eyes and focus on the top-level headlines here.

First and foremost, the tropical Atlantic Ocean is running quite warm compared to average. Tropical storms "feed" on that warm ocean water to form, grow, and intensify.

Ocean water temperatures along the area of the Atlantic most favorable for hurricane development are running several degrees above average. (Accuweather)
Ocean water temperatures along the area of the Atlantic most favorable for hurricane development are running several degrees above average. (Accuweather)
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Second, the Pacific Ocean is expected to transition to a La Niña phase through the summer. That occurs when the water in the western Pacific Ocean (near Australia) is abnormally warmer compared to the eastern Pacific (near South America). Historically, such conditions lead to increased hurricane activity in the Atlantic.

The latest forecast from the Climate Prediction Center calls for a hyperactive season, with 17 to 25 storms in the Atlantic basin. (NOAA / CPC)
The latest forecast from the Climate Prediction Center calls for a hyperactive season, with 17 to 25 storms in the Atlantic basin. (NOAA / CPC)
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In fact, the latest hurricane season forecast from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is the most active one they have ever issued. Forecasters point to those near-record warm ocean temperatures and development of La Nina conditions, in addition to reduced Atlantic trade winds and less wind shear. All signs are pointing toward favorable conditions for tropical storm formation.

Keep in mind, it is impossible to predict whether any of those 17 to 25 storms affect New Jersey, either directly (rain, wind, surge) or indirectly (heavy surf). Remember: All it takes is a single storm to make a season memorable. And devastating.

The peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is from late August to mid September. That is when warm water and weather patterns present the greatest threat for a big storm. (Examples: Ida, Irene, Floyd.)

The complete list of names for the 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Gallery Credit: Dan Zarrow

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Check out Dan's weather blog or follow him on Facebook for your latest weather forecast updates.

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Fuhgeddaboudit! Great Jersey names for a hurricane

No question New Jersey has been hit hard by hurricanes and tropical storms the last few years. From Ida, to Henri, to Isaias, to Fay and to Sally. But where on earth are they getting these names? Steve Trevelise thinks if they had "Jersey" names, they would be more intimidating. He asked his Facebook following for some suggestions, here's some of what they came up with.

Gallery Credit: Steve Trevelise