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HomeNewsLocal news2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season Officially Begins Thursday; NOAA Issues Season Forecast

2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season Officially Begins Thursday; NOAA Issues Season Forecast

NOAA Issues 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast. (Photo courtesy of NOAA news update from 5/25.23)

Thursday, June 1, is the official start of the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Ahead of the season’s start, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued a forecast calling for a “near-normal” hurricane season regarding the possible number of cyclones.

There have been several tropical weather forecasts this year calling for the possibility of a “below-average” number of hurricanes, including outlooks from Colorado State University and Tropical Storm Risk.

The potential reduction in storms is primarily due to an expected El Nino weather pattern, which can help reduce tropical activity in the Atlantic. However, in a press release from May 25, NOAA acknowledges the possibility of a below-average season but also cautions that other factors could still contribute to a relatively active season — even with El Nino.

“The upcoming Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be less active than recent years 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,” the NOAA update explains.

“El Nino’s potential influence on storm development could be offset by favorable conditions local to the tropical Atlantic Basin,” the NOAA update warns. “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, and warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, which creates more energy to fuel storm development,” the update continues.

Image explaining El Nino and its potential impacts on cyclone development in the Atlantic and Caribbean. (Photo courtesy NOAA/Climate.gov)

NOAA expects between 12-17 named cyclones this year, with five to nine becoming hurricanes. Out of the number of storms, NOAA predicts that between one to four could become “major hurricanes,” which are cyclones with the power of at least a Category 3 storm.

Preparations for Forecast Uncertainty

Regardless of the number of cyclones that could develop this year, it only takes one storm to cause significant damage. It is essential to prepare now and stay informed about weather updates. (Click here to read a recent article in the Source regarding hurricane preparedness.)

In addition to releasing a forecast for the upcoming season, NOAA identified several improvements to the weather reports for this year. The changes include expanding cyclone development forecasts from five to seven days and upgrades to forecasts that predict storm surges for the continental USA, Puerto Rico, and the USVI. (Read more about the updates to NOAA’s hurricane prediction models in the aforementioned NOAA press release.)

Residents can find information about emergency shelters and alerts from the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency. Additionally, weather alerts from the National Hurricane Center will constantly be updated on the Source Weather Page.

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