The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season for 2023.
The 2023 annual NOAA forecast (opens in a new tab) suggests a 40% chance of a near-normal season, 30% chance of an above-normal season, and 30% chance of a below-normal season.
NOAA expects 12 to 17 named storms (defined by exceeding 39 mph wind velocity), of which 5 to 9 have high-probability of becoming hurricanes (exceeding 74 mph wind velocity) and 1 to 4 major hurricanes (which include hurricanes of category 3 and higher or exceeding 111 mph wind velocity). The agency expresses 70% confidence in these projections.
NOAA’s forecast considers various factors.
After three La Nina-dominated seasons, NOAA anticipates a potential shift to El Nino conditions, which typically reduce hurricane activity in the Atlantic. However, the impact of El Nino could be offset by favorable conditions in the tropical Atlantic Basin, including an above-normal west African monsoon that generates African easterly waves (AEWs) and warmer sea surface temperatures. These factors align with the long-term atmospheric and oceanic conditions conducive to hurricane development since 1995.
Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo acknowledges the investments made in scientific and technological advancements, enabling NOAA to provide more accurate forecasts for communities to prepare and respond to Atlantic hurricanes.
NOAA plans to enhance forecasting capabilities by expanding the operational supercomputing system, implementing the Hurricane Analysis and Forecast System (HAFS) as the primary hurricane model, upgrading the Probabilistic Storm Surge model, extending forecast ranges, and modernizing observing systems with new technologies.
NOAA emphasizes the importance of preparedness and encourages individuals to understand their risk and follow warnings from state and local officials. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell underscores the significance of readiness resources and emphasizes that even one hurricane can cause significant devastation.
NOAA’s seasonal outlook provides an overall assessment of activity and does not specifically predict landfall events. An updated Atlantic seasonal outlook will be released in early August, just before the peak of the hurricane season.
The 2022 hurricane season (opens in a new tab) ended up meeting the lower end of the forecast. In numbers, the 2022 season gave us 14 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. Most notably, 2022 season cost at least 304 fatalities and over USD 118.29 billion in damages, marking it one of costliest season on the record.
We remind that the “normal season” was reclassified in 2021 guidelines due to the increased storm activity in the past two decades. Reports of normal seasons should therefore not be taken lightly. Both our website and NOAA recommend visiting FEMA’s portal Ready.gov (opens in a new tab) to learn how to prepare for hurricanes and downloading the FEMA mobile phone app (opens in a new tab), which sends its users timely alerts of upcoming storms. We urge you to also consider flood insurance to protect your household and spread hurricane awareness in your community. It is crucial not to forget to check the proper functioning of your portable generator or consider purchasing one if you don’t already have it as an essential tool for emergency preparedness.