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NOAA announces “near-normal” 2023 hurricane outlook

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NOAA GOES satellite captures Hurricane Ian as it made landfall on the barrier island of Cayo Costa in southwest Florida on September 28, 2022.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, announced on Friday its outlook for the upcoming 2023 hurricane season. Experts from the Climate Prediction Center forecast a 40% chance of a “near-normal” season in the Atlantic with 12-17 total named storms. One to four of these named storms could be a category three hurricane or higher.

This Atlantic season could be less active than recent years due to a high potential for El Niño to develop over the summer, which can suppress Atlantic hurricane activity. However, warmer sea temperatures in the Atlantic and an above-normal west African monsoon that impacts storm strength might offset this.

“It’s a pretty rare condition to have the both of these going on at the same time,” said NOAA Climate Test Bed director Matthew Rosencrans about the rising temperatures combined with El Niño.

This event follows three back-to-back years of La Niña, which enhanced storms in the Atlantic basin. Fourteen named storms hit the United States last year and three of those were categorized as major hurricanes.

In a press conference announcing the hurricane outlook, speakers from NOAA and FEMA urged communities to prepare early for the upcoming season. “Remember it only takes one storm to devastate a community regardless of statistics I shared,” said NOAA administrator Rick Spinrad. “If one of those named storms is hitting your home, your community, it’s very serious.”

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will update the Atlantic outlook during peak hurricane season this upcoming August.

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