NOAA forecasters now predict above average hurricane season for 2023

Elyse Smith Image
Thursday, August 10, 2023
NOAA forecasters now predict above average hurricane season
National Hurricane Center updated 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. They now predict above-average season with 14 to 21 possible named storms.

On Thursday morning, the National Hurricane Center released its mid-season update to the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook.

It's now forecasting an above-average season with an expected 14 to 21 named storms, six to 11 hurricanes, and potentially two to five major hurricanes, category 3 or greater. This is an increase from its prediction in late May, which was for an average or normal season.

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This increase is a bigger deal this year as it's an El Niño summer, where conditions typically wouldn't be as favorable for an active season.

But the reason for the upgrade is what ABC13 meteorologists have been talking about all summer: the record water sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and deep tropics.

NOAA forecasters believe these extremely warm water temperatures could counteract the usual unfavorable conditions that an El Niño pattern could provide. Slightly below-normal Atlantic trade winds and a near- or above-normal West African monsoon were also key factors in shaping this updated seasonal forecast.

This seasonal update comes as we approach the peak of hurricane season next month on Sept. 10. And while plumes of Saharan dust are keeping the deep tropics quiet for now, there are signs that the dust could be limited later this month and allow for more of the tropical waves coming off of Africa to develop.

Keep in mind, this uptick in potential activity is not a landfall forecast.