Weather experts predict ‘normal’ hurricane season
The 2023 hurricane season “officially” starts June 1, and National Weather Service forecasters are predicting “near-normal” activity.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, the Atlantic hurricane season will be less active than recent years. NOAA scientists predict a high potential for the weather phenomenon El Niño to develop over the summer, which can suppress Atlantic hurricane activity. The past three seasons have included La Niña, a phenomenon that can lead to a more severe hurricane season.
ADDITIONAL READING: Impacts of El Niño and La Niña on the hurricane season
In Florida, Hurricane Ian – fueled by favorable La Niña conditions – made landfall on Florida’s west coast on Sept. 28, 2022 as a Category 5 hurricane, causing significant damage.
Meteorologists at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center announced in March that La Niña had officially ceased.
A range of 12 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher) is forecast for 2023. Between five and nine of these could become hurricanes (with winds of 74 mph or higher), including one to four major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher).
NOAA – which claims 70 percent confidence in its predictions – emphasizes that the forecast is for overall seasonal activity during the Atlantic hurricane season, and is not a landfall forecast.
“With a changing climate, the data and expertise NOAA provides to emergency managers and partners to support decision-making before, during and after a hurricane has never been more crucial,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D, said in a prepared statement.
“To that end, this year we are operationalizing a new hurricane forecast model and extending the tropical cyclone outlook graphic from five to seven days, which will provide emergency managers and communities with more time to prepare for storms.”
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.