By Anita Byer, Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting near-normal hurricane activity for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season. NOAA forecasters predict a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season and a 30% chance of a below-normal season. Unlike the last three hurricane seasons with La Niña present, NOAA scientists predict a high potential for El Niño to develop this summer, which can suppress hurricane activity. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.
This year, NOAA is forecasting (with 70 percent confidence):
- 12 – 17 total named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher)
- 5 – 9 hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher)
- 1 – 4 major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or higher)
Forecasters at Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project currently expect the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season to have slightly below-average storm activity. Their latest forecast is for 13 named storms, including 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. The probability of a major hurricane (Category 3-4-5) making landfall somewhere along the east coast of the United States (including Florida) is 22 percent. The probability of a Gulf Coast landfall (from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville, Texas) is 28 percent.
Although El Niño is expected to suppress hurricane activity this year, NOAA notes that its potential influence on storm development could be offset by favorable conditions throughout the tropical Atlantic Basin. According to NOAA, favorable conditions include the potential for an above-normal west African monsoon, which produces easterly waves and seeds some of the stronger and longer-lived Atlantic storms. NOAA also identified warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, which creates more energy to fuel storm development.
A lot is made of these annual predictions, but it only takes one storm to make it an active hurricane season for you. “As we saw with Hurricane Ian, it only takes one hurricane to cause widespread devastation and upend lives. So regardless of the number of storms predicted this season, it is critical that everyone understand their risk and heed the warnings of state and local officials. Whether you live on the coast or further inland, hurricanes can cause serious impacts to everybody in their path,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell.
Now is the time to start preparing for the upcoming hurricane season. Contact our team of experienced and responsive insurance and risk management professionals to find affordable options to protect your home and your business in the event of a hurricane.