At first, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA for short, predicted a “near-normal” hurricane season for the North Atlantic this year. Several conflicting factors have made this particular season hard to predict, as El Niño typically suppresses hurricane activity. Still, the higher sea surface temperatures fuel more activity. Many forecasting agencies have released different predictions for this year’s hurricane forecast. At the end of the day, the true strength of this hurricane season will depend on which expected factor will be more dominant.

Update: July 9, 2023

A few conflicting reports indicate that the hurricane season will be more active than anticipated. Please see our most up-to-date article on the changes.

How Many Hurricanes Are We Expected To See?

A summary infographic showing hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms predicted from NOAA's 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. (Image credit: NOAA)

Named Storms Expected: 12-17
Hurricanes Expected: 5-9
Major Hurricanes Expected: 1-4
A summary infographic showing hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms predicted from NOAA’s 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. (Image credit: NOAA)

The current NOAA tropical outlook predicts a 40% chance of regular hurricane season activity and a 30% chance for an above-average and below-average season. 12 to 17 storms are expected, with 5 to 9 having the potential to become a hurricane and 1-4 of which with the possibility of becoming a major hurricane.

The forecast was decided by a few conflicting factors, such as the potential development of an El Nino (which could limit hurricane activity) and the high likelihood of an above-normal west-African monsoon and above-average sea temperatures.

The 2023 Hurricane Season Has Been Hard To Predict

We’ve already seen a few improbable events as we pass the first few weeks of the 2023 Hurricane Season. Tropical Storm Bret had developed rapidly in the early season. As Bret began approaching the Leeward Islands, many weather forecasting agencies expected it to become a hurricane quickly. This aggressive and early weather activity is especially unusual for the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which caused many weather experts to question their initial forecast. Although no changes to the forecasts have yet been released, Floridians are advised to stay alert as the hurricane season progresses over the next few months.

Fortunately for the Caribbean Islands, the Saharan Air Layer (a large dust cloud that forms from tropical activity) helped quell the storm before it had the chance to strengthen.

2023 Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Names

The names for hurricanes are determined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for promoting international cooperation in meteorology, climatology, hydrology, and more. 

The lists of hurricane names are established on a regional basis. For the Atlantic, six rotating lists of names are used in rotating every seventh year. Each list contains names starting with different letters of the alphabet for clarity. However, hurricane names will sometimes be retired if they are associated with a significant storm that causes widespread damage or loss of life to avoid confusion.

A few of the hurricane names that have been retired are Katrina (2005), Harvey (2017), Maria (2017), Irma (2017), Sandy (2012), and Andrew (1992).

Here are the 2023 Hurricane Season Storm Names:

ArleneHaroldOphelia
BrettIdaliaPhilippe
CindyJoseRina
DonKatiaSean
EmilyLeeTammy
FranklinMargotVince
GertNigelWhitney

The NOAA Has Been Completing Upgrades For It’s Hurricane Forecasting Models

The NOAA is completing upgrades for its hurricane forecast models, including the HAFS (Hurricane Analysis and Forecast System), which is expected to improve track forecast. As well as its capabilities in storm surge forecasting, extended outlook ranges, and new flood inundation mapping. These updates will be a welcome change to Florida’s forecasting capabilities after the tragedy of Hurricane Ian late last year.

What Should I Do To Stay Prepared for the 2023 Hurricane Season?

Stay informed: keep an eye on the tropics throughout the season. Check your local weather forecasts and the tropical updates from the National Hurricane Center. Public advisories are typically issued every six hours during the hurricane season.

Create an emergency plan: include evacuation routes, meeting points, and communication methods. Make sure everyone in your family knows the plan.

Prepare an emergency kit:  include non-perishable food and water, medications, flashlights, batteries, important documents, cash, and a first aid kit. Make sure your equipment is always accessible. 

Have a plan to secure your home: If you don’t have hurricane shutters or impact windows, consider having them installed. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and some form of window protection is essential to protect your home, family, and property from major hurricane-force winds and flying debris.

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