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Local News 12 Aug, 2023 Follow News


The official projection for the intensity of the 2023 hurricane season has been raised from ‘near normal’ to ‘above normal’.

The latest update by the US National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on August 11th now includes a 70% chance of 14-21 named storms, of which 6-11 could become hurricanes, and 2-5 could become major hurricanes.

In the update issued on August 10th, NOAA said it had heightened the outlook projection due to current ocean and atmospheric conditions, such as record-warm sea surface temperatures. The previous projection was for a “near normal” season.

The updated outlook raises the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season to 60%, increased from the outlook issued in May, which predicted a 30% chance. The likelihood of near-normal activity has decreased to 25%, down from the 40% chances outlined in May's outlook. This new update gives the Atlantic a 15% chance of seeing a below-normal season.

NOAA’s update to the 2023 outlook — which covers the entire six-month hurricane season ending on November 30th predicts 14-21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 6-11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater). Of those, 2-5 could become major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater).

The Atlantic basin experienced an active start to the hurricane season with five storms that have reached at least tropical storm strength, including one hurricane already. An average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which seven become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

The next named storm will be called Emily.

“The main climate factors expected to influence the 2023 Atlantic hurricane activity are the ongoing El Nino and the warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation, including record-warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead hurricane season forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Considering those factors, the updated outlook calls for more activity, so we urge everyone to prepare now for the continuing season.”

El Nino conditions are currently being observed and there is a greater than 95% chance that El Nino will continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter, according to the Climate Prediction Center. “El Nino usually results in atmospheric conditions that help to lessen tropical activity during the Atlantic hurricane season. So far, those limiting conditions have been slow to develop and climate scientists are forecasting that the associated impacts that tend to limit tropical cyclone activity may not be in place for much of the remaining hurricane season.”

The agency also explained 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 the decision to update the seasonal forecast.

NOAA stressed that its hurricane outlooks are forecasts of overall season activity, not landfalls and it is urging residents in vulnerable areas to have a well-thought-out hurricane plan and stay informed through official channels as this season progresses.

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