New 2023 Hurricane Season Forecast

After years of predicting above-normal hurricane seasons, meteorologists are anticipating a slightly below-average 2023 Atlantic hurricane season. (Read the full report)

But they added these important caveats: There’s still plenty of uncertainty in the forecast, and all it takes is one storm to turn a hurricane season from calm to chaotic.

Colorado State University, which has a renowned tropical weather and climate research team, is predicting 13 named storms, of which six will become hurricanes and two will reach major hurricane strength (with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or higher). 

That’s according to the university’s first hurricane season forecast unveiled today, which will be updated each month between June and August.

The call for a below-average season — and the uncertainty around that forecast — stems from two conflicting factors: the possibility for a strong El Niño, when an enhanced jet stream threatens to erode stronger hurricanes, and an “anomalously warm” Atlantic, which can fuel hurricanes.

“The tug-of-war between the hurricane-unfavorable potential of a robust El Niño and the hurricane-favorable potential of a much warmer-than-normal (Atlantic) is why the forecast is for a slightly below-average season at this point,” said Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at the university.

In other words: The combination of those two factors could lead to the hurricane season falling on different sides of the spectrum.

Landfalling probability included in report

The report also includes the probability of major hurricanes making landfall:

  • 44 percent for the entire U.S. coastline (average from 1880-2020 is 43 percent)
  • 22 percent for the U.S. East Coast including the Florida peninsula (average from 1880-
    2020 is 21 percent)
  • 28 percent for the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle westward to Brownsville
    (average from 1880-2020 is 27 percent)
  • 49 percent for the Caribbean (average from 1880-2020 is 47 percent)
    The forecast team also provides probabilities of named storms, hurricanes and major
    hurricanes tracking within 50 miles of each county or parish along the Gulf and US East Coast,
    as well as hurricane-prone coastal states, Mexican states, Canadian provinces and countries in
    Central America and the Caribbean. These probabilities for regions and countries are adjusted
    based on the current seasonal forecast.

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