NOAA updates hurricane season forecast, now predicting above-normal storm activity

NOAA updates hurricane season forecast, now predicting above-normal storm activity

By Anita Byer, Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently updated its 2023 Atlantic hurricane season forecast, but not for the better. Prompted in part by record-warm sea surface temperatures, NOAA forecasters have increased their prediction for the ongoing 2023 Atlantic hurricane season from a near-normal level of activity to an above-normal level of activity. This is concerning because tropical activity spikes from mid-August through mid-October. “The updated outlook calls for more activity,” cautions Matthew Rosencrans, lead NOAA hurricane forecaster, “so we urge everyone to prepare now for the continuing season.”

NOAA’s updated forecast increased the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season from 30 percent (in May) to 60 percent. The likelihood of near-normal activity has decreased from 40 percent to 25 percent. The likelihood of seeing a below-normal season is now only 15 percent. And, since it is impossible to have above-normal storm activity without more storms, NOAA’s updated forecast is also predicting more named storms.

An average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which seven become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. NOAA’s updated 2023 outlook, which covers the entire six-month hurricane season, is predicting (with 70 percent confidence):

  • 14 – 21 Named Storms (was 12 – 17)
  • 6 – 11 Hurricanes (was 5 – 9)
  • 2 – 5 Major Hurricanes (was 1 – 4)

According to NOAA, the main climate factors expected to influence Atlantic hurricane activity are the ongoing El Niño and record-warm sea surface temperatures. Although El Niño usually helps lessen tropical activity during the Atlantic hurricane season, those limiting conditions have been slow to develop and may not be in place for much of the remaining hurricane season. NOAA notes that a below-normal wind shear forecast, slightly below-normal Atlantic trade winds and a near- or above-normal West African Monsoon were also key factors in shaping the updated hurricane season forecast.

Hurricane season is long and maintaining preparations is hard, but the peak of tropical activity is not the time to let things slide. NOAA’s updated forecast should provide all the motivation you need to remain alert, prepared and ready to act if your home, business or boat is in the path of a storm. Remember, it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for you. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Please contact us about protecting your personal and business property against tropical storms and hurricanes.