National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasters with the Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, predict near-normal hurricane activity this year. NOAA’s outlook for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30, predicts a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season and a 30% chance of a below-normal season.
NOAA is forecasting a range of 12 to 17 total named storms [winds of 39 miles per hour (mph) or higher]. Of those, five to nine could become hurricanes (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 has 70% confidence in these ranges. This outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast.
The upcoming Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be less active than in recent years. This is due to competing factors — some that suppress storm development and some that fuel it — driving this year’s overall forecast for a near-normal season.
After three hurricane seasons with La Niña present, NOAA scientists predict a high potential for El Niño to develop this summer, which can suppress Atlantic hurricane activity. El Niño’s potential influence on storm development could be offset by favorable conditions local to the tropical Atlantic Basin. Those conditions include the potential for an above-normal west African monsoon, which produces African easterly waves and seeds some of the stronger and longer-lived Atlantic storms. Warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea create more energy to fuel storm development.
By comparison, Colorado State University (CSU) hurricane researchers are predicting a slightly below-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2023. The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team in April predicted 13 named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season.
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