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NOAA Now Predicts A More Active Hurricane Season
Warm ocean temps could feed hurricanes
August 10, 2023

cientists at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center have increased their prediction for the ongoing 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, from a ‘near-normal’ level of activity to an ‘above-normal’ season.

Why? Forecasters cite record-warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures as likely to counterbalance the usually limiting conditions associated with the ongoing El Niño event. El Niño creates less ideal conditions for storm systems. But record hot sea temperatures may overwhelm the El Niño benefit.

NOAA says the chance of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season is now 60% (increased from the outlook issued in May, which predicted a 30% chance).

This covers the six-month hurricane season that continues through Nov. 30. It calls for 14-21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 6-11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater). Of those, 2-5 could become major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater). NOAA provides these ranges with what they state is a “70% confidence”.

The updated 2023 Atlantic hurricane season probability and number of named storms.

“The main climate factors expected to influence the 2023 Atlantic hurricane activity are the ongoing El Niño and the warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation, including record-warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead hurricane season forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Considering those factors, the updated outlook calls for more activity. We urge everyone to prepare now for the continuing season.”

What the &^%$ is “Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation”?

That would be edified talk for long-duration changes in the sea surface temperature of the North Atlantic Ocean, with cool and warm phases that may last for 20-40 years at a time.

The next name on tap for this season is Emily:

The 2023 Atlantic tropical cyclone names.

NOAA’s hurricane outlooks are forecasts of overall season activity, not landfalls. For example, Hurricane Don was in July 2023. You didn’t hear too much about Don – the storm stayed at sea.

Hurricane Ian making landfall at Florida, September 2022.

In June, NOAA deployed a new model, which they believe will result in even more accurate hurricane forecasts. This season that new model will be run alongside existing models, before replacing them as NOAA’s primary hurricane forecasting model.

NOAA urges those in vulnerable areas (that would include Oriental and Pamlico County) to have a hurricane plan.

Posted Thursday August 10, 2023 by Keith N. Smith

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