Summer ’23: NOAA Predicts “Near Normal” Hurricane Season

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Written by NOAA staff 

Adapted from an article from NOAA. Read the full article here.

NOAA forecasters with the Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, predict near-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic this year. NOAA’s outlook for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which goes from June 1 to November 30, predicts 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. 

NOAA is forecasting a range of 12 to 17 total named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher). Of those, 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA has a 70% confidence in these ranges. 

The upcoming Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be less active than recent years, driving this year’s overall forecast for a near-normal season. After three hurricane seasons with La Nina present, NOAA scientists predict El Nino to develop this summer, which can suppress Atlantic hurricane activity.  

“With a changing climate, the data and expertise NOAA provides to emergency managers and partners to support decision-making before, during and after a hurricane has never been more crucial,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D.  

This summer, NOAA will implement a series of upgrades and improvements. NOAA will expand the capacity of its operational supercomputing system by 20%. In late June, the Hurricane Analysis and Forecast System (HAFS) will become operational – HAFS will run in tandem with the current Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast Model System. The May 2 upgrade to the Probabilistic Storm Surge model advances storm surge forecasting for the contiguous U.S. Forecasters can now run the model for two storms simultaneously.  

The Weather Prediction Center is extending the Excessive Rainfall Outlook an additional two days, now providing forecasts up to five days in advance. The outlook shows general areas at risk for flash flooding due to excessive rainfall. 

NOAA will continue improving systems critical in understanding and forecasting hurricanes. Projects underway this season include new small aircraft drone systems, the deployment of additional Saildrones and underwater gliders, and WindBorne global sounding balloons. NOAA will also upgrade the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean buoy array – data from these buoys are used to forecast El Nino and La Nina, which can influence hurricane activity.  

“As we saw with Hurricane Ian, it only takes one hurricane to cause widespread devastation and upend lives,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Whether you live on the coast or further inland, hurricanes can cause serious impacts to everybody in their path. Visit ready.gov for readiness resources and get real time emergency alerts by downloading the FEMA App. Actions taken today can save your life when disaster strikes. The time to prepare is now.”