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NOAA Releases Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast

 Thursday, May 25, 2023

 Claims Pages Staff

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released its annual forecast for the upcoming 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, set to begin on June 1. In an unusual turn of events, this year’s May outlook does not predict an above-average number of storms, marking the first time in eight years.

NOAA estimates that there will be 12 to 17 named storms, comprising both tropical storms and hurricanes. Approximately half of these storms are expected to develop into hurricanes. However, it is important to note that not all of these storms will make landfall.

Hurricane risks extend beyond coastal regions where storms typically make landfall. Even relatively weak storms can result in dangerous inland flooding, and the impact of climate change has made heavy rainfall from hurricanes more frequent. Moreover, forecasters stress that a devastating storm can occur at any time, even before the peak of the hurricane season in late summer.

The unique circumstances in the Atlantic further contribute to uncertainty regarding this year’s hurricane season. On one hand, the climate pattern known as El NiÃħo is expected to emerge in the coming months and persist during the peak hurricane season. El NiÃħo creates wind conditions that can disrupt hurricanes.

However, the ocean waters in the region where hurricanes originate are unusually warm, and this warm anomaly is expected to persist throughout the entire hurricane season, which extends until November. Rising ocean temperatures globally, attributed to climate change, are contributing to this phenomenon.

The warmer ocean waters enhance the formation of hurricanes, but the overall impact of the 2023 conditions on hurricane activity remains unclear, according to forecasters. Although forecasters possess significant expertise in predicting hurricane patterns, this year presents an unprecedented challenge due to the lack of historical precedent for such a combination of factors.