ORLANDO, Fla. — NOAA forecasters are predicting “near-normal” hurricane activity in the Atlantic this year, according to predictions released Thursday.
>>> See storm names for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season <<<
Forecasters said there’s a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season and a 30% chance of a below-normal season.
The predictions come precisely a week before the start of hurricane season on June 1. The season lasts until Nov. 30.
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NOAA is forecasting a range of 12 to 17 total named storms, which includes storms with winds of 39 mph or higher. Of those, forecasters said five to nine could become hurricanes with 74 mph or higher winds, including one to four major hurricanes – or category 3, 4 or 5 storms with winds of 111 mph or higher. NOAA said it has 70% confidence in these ranges.
But Channel 9 chief meteorologist Tom Terry said numbers aside, it is still important to prepare ahead of hurricane season.
“We know firsthand from Ian last year that it only takes one storm to bring an ‘active’ season for us,” Terry said.
Read: Tropical disturbance could form off southeast US coast one week before hurricane season
NOAA said the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be less active than recent years.
According to their 2023 prediction, forecasters said after three hurricane seasons with La Nina present, NOAA scientists predict a high potential for El Nino to develop this summer, which can suppress Atlantic hurricane activity.
See: 1st tropical wave of the year rolls off the coast of Africa
But Terry said that doesn’t mean we’re in the clear.
“The water temperatures are way above normal in our part of the world, so even if El Nino helps prevent some systems from forming, the ones that do develop could still be quite strong and grow rapidly,” Terry said. “So, make sure you and your family have some basic storm preparation items already on hand before a system forms and know if you could need to evacuate -- whether you live at the coast, or in a less sturdy structure like a mobile home.”
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SEE: Storm names for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season
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