NOAA Now Predicting Up to 5 Major Atlantic Hurricanes in 2023
Rising ocean surface temperatures have prompted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to increase its Atlantic Hurricane Season prediction to include an 'above average' amount of activity in 2023.
The agency outlined its updated prediction in a press release issued Wednesday, Aug. 10, stating that "[f]orecasters believe that current ocean and atmospheric conditions, such as record-warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures, are likely to counterbalance the usually limiting atmospheric conditions associated with the ongoing El Nino event."
How Many Hurricanes Are Possible in 2023?
NOAA's latest forecast anticipates the formation of 14-21 named storms with wind speeds of 39 mph or greater. Of those named storms, NOAA believes the 2023 hurricane season will include:
- 6-11 hurricanes with winds of at least 74 mph
- 2-5 major hurricanes with winds of 111mph or higher
The average hurricane season produces 14 named storms.
How Accurate is NOAA's Outlook?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's forecast is created after reviewing the latest data from its meteorologists and partner agencies. NOAA notes that it "provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. These updated ranges include storms that have already formed this season."
What About El Niño?
El Niño years are typically marked for their mild hurricane seasons; however, record ocean temperatures may mitigate El Nino's calming effect:
“The main climate factors expected to influence the 2023 Atlantic hurricane activity are the ongoing El Nino and the warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation, including record-warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead hurricane season forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Considering those factors, the updated outlook calls for more activity, so we urge everyone to prepare now for the continuing season.”
To date, five named storms have formed in the Atlantic basin, one of which reached hurricane strength.
Those in hurricane-prone areas are urged by the agency to review their preparedness plan in advance.