GULF OF MEXICO (KPEL News) - Things have been quiet for the Gulf Coast over the past two years.

While the hurricane season has been active every year, the number of storms that have struck the Gulf Coast has been low, especially compared to other years. Louisiana and Texas have seen minimal activity, allowing both states to breathe a bit easier.

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But, a change in weather patterns could cause a change in fortunes this summer.

Meteorologists at AccuWeather are saying the 2024 hurricane season could be a "super-charged season."

"The current El Niño pattern that is in place is forecast to transition into a La Niña pattern during the second half of the hurricane season," AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter said.

According to AccuWeathr, La Niña patterns typically "lead to more tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic due to reduced wind shear, or disruptive winds high in the atmosphere."

Hurricane Photo
Photo courtesy of NASA-i9w4Uy1pU-s-unsplash

The western side of the Gulf Coast, which includes Louisiana and Texas, could be heavily impacted.

"The second half of the hurricane season is likely to be very active, as conditions will be more favorable for tropical systems," AccuWeather Long-Range Expert Paul Pastelok said. "We expect that the Gulf Coast, especially the Texas Coast, will be at a higher risk for direct impacts from a tropical system this year."

Will It Be The Worst Ever?

The 2005 and 2020 hurricane seasons each generated 31 tropical systems, AccuWeather reported, making them the most active seasons recorded.

The 2023 Hurricane Season was also very active in terms of “named storms," though they weren't as intense as in past seasons, meteorologist Ryan Maue said on his website.

"Instead, almost all of the action was in the open Atlantic — recurving out to sea," he explained. "The tropical waves over Africa that emerged into the Atlantic were quite robust. The one notable exception was Hurricane Idalia that made landfall as a Category 3 in the Florida Big Bend."

But, he added an important note elsewhere.

"However, and this should be stressed, it takes a lot more than warm water to start a tropical storm," Maue cautioned. "The water in the Main Development Region is always warm enough for storms in summer. But dust, wind shear, mid-level dryness, and other factors can often outweigh the favorable warmer water."

Be Safe... And Prepared

Ensuring safety during hurricane season involves proactive measures and careful planning. Assemble a comprehensive emergency kit with water, non-perishable food, medications, and essential documents. Familiarize yourself with local evacuation routes and be ready to evacuate if authorities issue orders.

Hurricane Ida Makes Landfall In Louisiana Leaving Devastation In Its Wake
Sean Rayford, Getty Images

Stay informed about weather conditions through reliable sources, such as local news and NOAA Weather Radio. Secure your home by reinforcing windows, doors, and garage doors. Clear gutters and secure outdoor furniture to minimize potential hazards.

Establish a family communication plan to ensure everyone knows where to go and how to contact each other in case of separation. Review insurance policies to ensure they cover potential hurricane-related damages, considering flood insurance if necessary.

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Safeguard important documents like identification, insurance policies, and medical records in waterproof containers. Be prepared for power outages with a backup power source and charged electronic devices. Preserve food by having a cooler with ice packs.

Sign up for community alerts and warnings to stay updated on the latest information. Exercise caution after the storm passes, watching for downed power lines, unstable structures, and flooded areas. Always follow official guidance for a safe return home.

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Gallery Credit: Tracy Wirtz

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