The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has officially released its forecast for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season.
In its forecast, NOAA predicts that there will be anywhere from 12 to 17 named storms between June 1 and November 30 — a "near-normal" year.
That's a milder forecast than the agency's 2022 prediction, which called for 14 to 21 storms. There were 14 named storms in 2022, nine of which became hurricanes.
Storms receive names when winds reach 39 miles per hour, which classifies them as tropical storms. The hurricane designation, which NOAA predicts five to nine storms will reach this year, is applied when sustained wind speeds are over 74 miles per hour.
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As many as four storms could become major hurricanes — Category 3 storms, with winds of at least 115 miles per hour — NOAA says.
The peak of hurricane season, when warm waters in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea allow for tropical activity to develop, runs from August 20 to October 1.
NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said in a statement that the agency is implementing a new forecast model in 2023 and extending its outlook window once storms develop from five to seven days, in order to give emergency managers and communities more time to prepare for coming storms.
“With a changing climate, the data and expertise NOAA provides to emergency managers and partners to support decision-making before, during and after a hurricane has never been more crucial,” Spinrad said.
Sean McGoey (804) 649-6012
@SeanMcGoey on Twitter