COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The federal government predicts a near-normal 2023 hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin: five to nine hurricanes are expected to form.
Overall, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts that 12 to 17 named tropical storms will develop in the region, which includes the Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, the agency announced Thursday morning at a news conference at the NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction.
The season officially begins next Thursday, June 1, and runs through Nov. 30.
The upcoming Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be less active than recent years because of competing factors — some that suppress storm development and some that fuel it — driving this year’s overall forecast for a near-normal season.
After three hurricane seasons with La Nina present, NOAA scientists predict a high potential for El Nino to develop this summer, which can suppress Atlantic hurricane activity. El Nino’s potential influence on storm development could be offset by favorable conditions local to the tropical Atlantic Basin, NOAA said.
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Of the hurricanes, one to four could be major: Wind speeds of 111 mph or higher and rated as Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale of Hurricane Intensity. An average season typically spawns seven hurricanes and peaks in August and September.
A tropical storm contains wind speeds of 39 mph or higher and becomes a hurricane when winds reach 74 mph.
Meteorologists from Colorado State University, in a forecast released last month, predict that a total of 13 tropical storms will form, of which six will become hurricanes.
When is hurricane season?:Here’s when hurricane season starts and what to expect in 2023
Last year, the 2022 season produced eight hurricanes, and it was most notable for the death and destruction wrought by Hurricanes Fiona, Ian and Nicole.
What is the Saffir-Simpson scale?Breaking down the hurricane wind speed scale
As it does every year, NOAA called for preparedness, noting it only takes one storm to make a bad season.