NEW ORLEANS — Researchers at Colorado State University published their first forecast for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which anticipates that the basin will have slightly below-average activity.
The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team is predicting 13 named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. Of those storms, six are expected to become hurricanes with two to reach major hurricane strength.
The report adds that there is a 44% probability that a major hurricane makes landfall in the United States in 2023 (The average from 1880-2020 is 43%). It says there is a 28% chances that a major hurricane makes landfall on the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle to Brownsville, Texas. (The average from 1880-2020 is 27%).
“It takes only one storm near you to make this an active season for you,” said Michael Bell, professor in the CSU Department of Atmospheric Science.
Hurricane researchers are citing the likely development of El Niño as a primary factor. They say a transition to El Niño is likely in the next several months, which could increase upper-level winds in the Atlantic that can cause vertical wind shear that tears hurricanes apart as they try to form.
However, the team says that there are other signals that create 'considerable uncertainty' as to how strong El Niño would be if it develops.
"Given the conflicting signals between a potentially robust El Niño and an anomalously warm tropical and subtropical Atlantic, the team stresses that there is more uncertainty than normal with this outlook," the report says.
The report says that the 2023 hurricane season is exhibiting characteristics similar to 1969, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
“Our analog seasons exhibited a wide range of outcomes, from below-normal seasons to hyperactive seasons,” said Phil Klotzbach, research scientist in the
Department of Atmospheric Science and lead author of the report. “This highlights the large uncertainty that exists with this outlook.”
CSU will issue updates to its forecasts on June 1, July 6 and August 3.