It has been a short time since the Atlantic hurricane season started, and we’re beginning to see yet another unusual event. The Colorado State University climatologists have upgraded their hurricane season forecast to “above-average” hurricane season.
As we’ve already known from the previous forecast, the Atlantic’s ocean temperature has far exceeded expectations, with some of the hottest temperatures on record. Many Floridians have encountered this head-on with the recent heat advisories over the early days of July.
The ocean temperatures specifically have been a challenging factor in this year’s forecast. The conflict between the robust El Niño, which will weaken storms, and the record temperatures, which will strengthen storms, has many climatologists scratching their heads. “Which factor will influence the tropics most this year?” is the question that most hurricane enthusiasts have been asking.
Some forecasters, CSU included, believe that the abnormal ocean temperatures will counteract the typical El Niño increases in vertical wind shear. CSU believes the US has an above-average likelihood of seeing a major hurricane landfall in 2023.
Although, some forecasters are beginning to think that this season’s forecast is indexing more toward being more active than initially predicted. We’ve already seen four storms form in the Atlantic (as of July 9, 2023), which is a very unusual fact to declare during the first few weeks of the hurricane season.
Let’s break down what these new forecasts could mean.
What are the chances that a Major Hurricane (Category 3-5) will hit?
The Colorado State University provides a few numbers for forecasting potential landfall-area. They provide percentages of likelihood depending on the area of the US.
Chance of major hurricane landfall in the continental US
With their current forecast, there is a 50% chance that a major hurricane will hit somewhere within the continental US coastline. The average is typically 43%, making this season slightly above average regarding its likelihood of impact on the United States.
Chance of major hurricane landfall on the US East Coast (including Florida)
With the current forecast in mind, there is a 25% chance that the US East Coast will see a major hurricane landfall in the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The average season usually has a 21% chance.
Additionally, the chance for major hurricane landfall on the Florida Gulf Coast to the Florida Panhandle is 32% this year, compared to the average of 27%.
What does the average hurricane season look like?
- The average hurricane season typically sees 69.4 named storm days. These are days when a named storm is active in the Atlantic.
- The average season will typically spin up 7.2 hurricanes.
- The average hurricane season typically results in 27 hurricane days (when hurricanes are active within Atlantic waters.)
- The average Atlantic season will see 3.2 major hurricanes and nine major hurricane days.
What are the previous 2023 hurricane season forecasts?
Many previous Atlantic Hurricane Season forecasts indicated there would be 12-17 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes, and 1-4 major hurricanes. The NOAA stands behind this estimate, although a few climatology authorities are starting to break rank with more active predictions.
At the time of CSU’s first forecast, they predicted;
- Named Storms: 13
- Named Storm Days: 55
- Hurricanes: 6
- Hurricane Days: 25
- Major Hurricanes: 2
- Major Hurricane Days: 5
What are the new 2023 hurricane season forecasts?
CSU predicts that the Atlantic hurricane season will be more active than anticipated. We will provide the new numbers in the forecast, with the changes from the previous numbers held within parentheses.
The new forecast reveals;
- Named Storms: 18 (+5)
- Named Storm Days: 90 (+35)
- Hurricanes: 9 (+3)
- Hurricane Days: 35 (+10)
- Major Hurricanes: 4 (+2)
- Major Hurricane Days: 9 (+4)
To summarize these changes, if we were to take all of the increases across these statistics, we would have an average percentage of increase of 62.4%. This data suggests a significant change to the initial forecast, highlighting the uncertainty surrounding this year’s hurricane season.
We’re likely to see 38.5% more named storms, 50% more hurricanes, and nearly double the number of major hurricanes form during this season than most Floridians expected.
What can you do to prepare for the 2023 Hurricane Season?
What you should do to prepare for hurricane season depends on your level of hurricane protection. Please check out the following resources below for more information.
If you have hurricane protection (hurricane shutters and impact windows)
- Make sure you are prepared for anything the tropics can throw at you with our hurricane preparedness checklist.
- Ensure your accordion shutters are maintained and in good working order with our accordion shutter maintenance guide.
If you don’t have hurricane protection (hurricane shutters and impact windows)
If you don’t have hurricane protection, give it consideration. Hurricane protection is now widely-available, affordably priced, and has great financing options. With the addition of the My Safe Florida Home program, you could be eligible for up to $10,000 in state-funded grants for hurricane protection.
- How to apply for My Safe Florida Home grants
- How to choose the best hurricane protection for you.
- Hurricane protection financing options
Thanks to the Colorado State University team for preparing this forecast and keeping those of us within hurricane-prone areas aware.
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This article is not kept up to date with current pricing.
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