Hurricane season update: Above-average activity now expected

One month into the Atlantic hurricane season, researchers at Colorado State University have again amended their seasonal forecast for tropical cyclone activity. They now call for an above-average season.

In April, the Tropical Weather and Climate Research group at Colorado State University released its first forecast for the 2023 hurricane season, which called for below-normal activity. This report reflected the anticipation that a developing El Niño would dominate the Atlantic Basin and inhibit tropical cyclone development.

However, sea surface temperatures in the main development region (the lower latitudes of the Atlantic Ocean) have been warmer than average, and such conditions support the development of tropical cyclones. Therefore, on the Colorado group updated its forecast June 1 and predicted a near average 2023 Atlantic hurricane season.

Since then, observational data continues to indicate that sea service temperatures in the main development region are well above average. The researchers predicted Thursday that the warm waters are likely to overpower the effect of the developing El Niño and the 2023 Atlantic season will likely be marked above-average activity.

The forecast update now calls for 18 total named storms (tropical storms and hurricanes), four more than the normal of 14. Of those 18 forecasted storms, nine are expected to be hurricanes, and four of those are expected to be major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). The average hurricane season produces seven hurricanes, three of which are major. So far this season, there have been three named storms, all of which were tropical storms.

Again, readers must be reminded that this forecast is a prediction of the hurricane in its entirety. It does not predict when storms will develop, where they will develop or where they will track. States along the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic seaboard are encouraged to ensure their families and properties are prepared for potential tropical effects this hurricane season.

Colorado State researchers are expected to release another forecast in August.

Copyright 2023 Storm Center. To see more, visit Storm Center.

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Megan Borowski