Hurricane season: What to expect, how to prepare

Hurricane Beryl as seen from the International Space Station on July 1,2024. Photo Credit: NASA/Matthew Dominick via Wikimedia Commons

The upcoming hurricane season is predicted to be record breaking, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. There are 17 to 25 forecasted storms, with eight to 13 anticipated to become hurricanes and four to seven anticipated to become major hurricanes at a Category 3 or higher.

Currently located over the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Beryl has already become the earliest Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean to develop in a hurricane season. Beryl has already taken 11 lives in the Caribbean and 2 lives since its landfall today in Texas.

Even though it seems South Florida may escape Hurricane Beryl — the area is no stranger to hurricanes. As hurricane season starts June 1 and ends on November 30, it is important for students to be prepared for tropical storms and hurricanes.

Be prepared

Set a plan ahead of time for a potential evacuation. Emergency plans should include a designated relative or friend to stay with, rental insurance for valuables and transportation plans. Have an emergency kit prepared with basic necessities such as water, non-perishable food, emergency radios, first aid kit and a whistle.

When a storm hits, stay inside and stay informed on the storm. Avoid areas with a high chance of flooding and keep away from windows.

It is expected that if a hurricane were to hit the Miami area, the University would make an evacuation decision in the case of Category 3 or higher hurricanes approximately 72 hours before the storm’s arrival. All classes will be canceled and students will be asked to leave campus.

Hurricanes and tropical storms

As one of the strongest El Nino years comes to an end, a strong La Nina begins. Where El Nino is usually associated with fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic basin, La Nina conditions are conducive to them.

La Nina causes weakened westerly winds, resulting in less vertical wind shear and allowing storms to strengthen. Strong vertical wind shear can prevent hurricanes from fully developing.

Tropical storms are formed from the interaction of warm air and warm seawater. Therefore, the rising heat of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea will create more fuel for storm development. Climate change leading to sea level rise also increases the risk of storm surge, or the abnormal rise of water above normal levels.

“The warming that we’ve seen in the North Atlantic over the last year has made people lift their eyebrows a little bit and go ‘Huh! What’s going on there?'” said NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt in an interview with NPR.

This season has the additional potential for a stronger West African monsoon, which increases the likelihood of an above-average hurricane season due to the associated wind and moisture patterns.

Important links for students

Keep these numbers on hand if needed in case of emergencies.

University of Miami Emergency Preparedness Website:

Emergency Information Hotline: 1-800-227-0354

Miami-Dade 2024 Hurricane Guide: