NC State researchers predict normal hurricane season

Published 10:37 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2023

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The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season will see 11 to 15 named storms forming in the Atlantic basin, according to researchers at North Carolina State University. The Atlantic basin includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

The number of named storms predicted is at the higher end of the long-term averages, but at the lower end of more recent 30-year averages, according to Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at NC State. The long-term (1951 to 2022) average of named storms is 11, and the more recent average (1991 to 2020) is 14 named storms.

Of the predicted 11 to 15 named storms, six to eight may grow strong enough to become hurricanes (the historical average is six), with the possibility of two to three storms becoming major hurricanes.

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The Gulf of Mexico will also see a hurricane season in line with historical averages. Of the 11 to 15 named storms predicted across the entire Atlantic basin, Xie’s data indicate the likelihood of three to five named storms forming in the region, with one to three of them becoming hurricanes and zero or one becoming a major hurricane. Historic averages for the gulf are three named storms and one hurricane.

Xie’s methodology evaluates more than 100 years of historical data on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as other variables, including weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures, to predict how many storms will form in each ocean basin.

NC State adjunct assistant professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences Xia Sun also contributed to the research.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.