Record warm water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and atmospheric conditions over the Western Hemisphere have prompted new warnings of increased hurricane activity that could threaten communities along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
“The main climate factors expected to influence the 2023 Atlantic hurricane activity are the ongoing El Niño and the warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead hurricane season forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Earlier this year, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center forecast a “near normal” season with 12 to 17 named storms, including five to nine reaching hurricane strength and up to four becoming major hurricanes with sustained wind speeds topping 111 mph. The updated forecast, released Aug. 10, predicts 14 to 21 named storms, including six to 11 that could reach hurricane strength with two to five of those becoming major hurricanes.
Last year, the Atlantic hurricane season produced 14 named storms, including eight that reached hurricane strength and two that developed into major hurricanes.
This year’s Atlantic hurricane season got off to an active start, with five tropical storms, including one that reached hurricane strength. But El Niño effects on the atmosphere and Saharan dust from Africa have otherwise suppressed tropical storm formation.
The updated NOAA forecast is now calling for as many as 16 additional storms before the season concludes in autumn. The six-month Atlantic hurricane season began June 1 and continues through Nov. 30 — NRECA