First predictions for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season

HOLT, Fla., April 17, 2023—Predictions are in for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season that officially begins June 1.

Overall, forecasts indicate a slightly below-average season which runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.

Colorado State University’s Tropical Weather and Climatic Research report released April 13 anticipates that the 2023 season will have slightly below-average activity.

AccuWeather’s prediction, released March 29, is also forecasting a less-active season.

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center will release its 2023 hurricane season forecast in late May.

A typical hurricane season consists of 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes with winds at 157 mph or higher.

The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team is predicting 13 named storms with six to become hurricanes and two to reach major storm strength.

AccuWeather hedges its prediction by giving a spread of 11-15 named storms, four-to-eight hurricanes and two-to-four major hurricanes.

Both forecasters cited the presence of an El Nino as the driving factor in a below-average season. During an El Nino, upper-level westerly winds increase across the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean resulting in vertical wind shear that can prevent hurricanes from forming.

The presence of an El Nino can also inhibit the number of tropical waves emerging off the west coast of Africa.

AccuWeather also says there’s a good chance of preseason tropical activity due to the warm Gulf of Mexico waters where storms typically form in late spring and early summer. Last year was the first since 2014 that no named storms formed before the June 1 start date.

With that said, AccuWeather forecasters are predicting Florida will be at a higher hurricane risk than other parts of the country stating that the “highest chance for direct and significant impacts” will be from the panhandle, around the peninsula, to the Carolina coast.

CSU’s report states the probability of at least one major hurricane making landfall along the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle west to Brownsville, Texas, is 28 percent.

A further CSU breakdown shows Okaloosa County has a 37 percent probability for a named storm impact, 16 percent for a hurricane and 6 percent for a major hurricane.

Historically, Okaloosa County has had 62 named storms, 24 hurricanes and eight major hurricanes from 1880 to 2020.

This is CSU’s 40th season to issue a hurricane forecast. The first report was issued in 1984. It is designed to provide a best estimate of Atlantic storm activity.

CSU released its first forecast for the 2023 season April 13. It will be updated throughout the season on June 1, July 6 and Aug. 3.

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