Hurricane Season Forecast Offers Relatively Good News for East Coast Residents


After a few days of torrential rain in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Key Biscayne area, the last thing residents want to hear is the first hurricane forecast for 2023.

But, there actually might be some good news – at least when compared to the average results from 1991-2020.

Experts at the Colorado State University Tropical Weather and Climate Research department are forecasting “slightly below-average activity” this year, with less named storms and less hurricanes. However, the probability for landfall on the U.S. East Coast is up 1%, to 22%.

The forecast calls for 13 named storms, as opposed to the average of 14.4, and six hurricanes, as opposed to 7.2 on the average.

Two major hurricanes are in the forecast, lower than the average of 3.2 over the course of 1991-2020.

A forecast of 55 named storm days (much lower than the 69.4 average) also bodes well. The forecast of 25 hurricane days is slightly below the 27 average.

“We anticipate a near-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean,” said Dr. Phil Klotzbach, research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science and lead author of the report.

“As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them,” he continued. “They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”

The team predicts that 2023 hurricane activity will be about 80% of the average season from 1991–2020. By comparison, 2022’s hurricane activity was about 75% of the average season.

The probabilities for at least one major (Category 3-4-5) hurricane landfall on the following coastal areas:

– 44% for the entire U.S. coastline (average from 1880-2020 is 43%)

– 22% for the U.S. East Coast including the Florida peninsula (average from 1880- 2020 is 21%)

– 28% for the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle westward to Brownsville (average from 1880-2020 is 27%)

– 49% for the Caribbean (average from 1880-2020 is 47%)

Experts at Colorado State University say sea surface temperatures in the eastern and central Atlantic are much warmer than normal, so if a robust El Niño does not develop, the potential still exists for a busy Atlantic hurricane season. Larger-than-normal uncertainty exists with this outlook.

El Niño and La Niña are the warm and cool phases of a recurring climate pattern across the tropical Pacific — the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, or “ENSO” for short. The pattern shifts back and forth irregularly every two to seven years, bringing predictable shifts in ocean surface temperature and disrupting the wind and rainfall patterns across the tropics.

Current neutral ENSO conditions look fairly likely to transition to El Niño this summer/fall. However, there is considerable uncertainty as to how strong an El Niño would be, if it does develop, experts say.

So far, the 2023 hurricane season is exhibiting characteristics similar to 1969, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2015, experts said.

“Our analog seasons exhibited a wide range of outcomes, from below-normal seasons to hyperactive seasons,” Klotzbach said. “This highlights the large uncertainty that exists with this outlook.”

The 2022 hurricane season will be most remembered for its two major hurricanes: Fiona and Ian.

Fiona brought devastating flooding to Puerto Rico before causing significant surge, wind and rain impacts in the Atlantic provinces of Canada as a post-tropical cyclone.

Ian made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in southwest Florida, causing over 150 fatalities and $113 billion dollars in damage.

In addition, Nicole also led to widespread beach erosion along Key Biscayne, adding to the erosion caused by Ian, and up along the Florida coast, from Fort Lauderdale to Deerfield Beach.

Especially hard hit was the Volusia-Flagler county area, where Daytona Beach Shores property damage was estimated at $370.3 million; New Smyrna Beach $51.1 million; and Daytona Beach $50 million.

Source : Islandernews