Category 4 Hurricane Laura approaches the Louisiana Coast, August 2020. Laura tied the record with Hurricane Ida in 2021 and the Last Island Hurricane in 1856 as the strongest hurricane to make landfall on the United States. NOAA Satellite Imagery.

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This is an early outlook for the upcoming Atlantic Hurricane Season which starts on June 1, 2023 and runs through November 30, 2023. The six-month long season reaches a peak in September. The start, end, and peak season dates are based on historical data.

Stay informed on the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season storms

Early outlooks are an assessment of current conditions and expected changes in the weather that affect the hurricane season. Factors that affect the season but are difficult to forecast can change the season for more or fewer storms. In 2020, a persistent dust cloud from the Sahara Desert over the Atlantic Ocean suppressed activity for over a month.

Other factors are subject to change. The current state of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is one factor that is currently tilting in favor of a less intense season. However, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation remains in a warm phase, which promotes tropical weather development.

Last year, the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season finished as a near-average after predictions of an above average season leading up to the season start and through September.

Norwall joins FEMA and the NWS in reminding everyone that it only takes one hurricane to landfall near your home to make your season, an active season.

2023 Hurricanes and Tropical Storms

A Saharan Desert Dust Cloud over the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea

The dust cloud over the Tropical Atlantic Ocean (gray area—lower right to upper left) is clearly visible in this satellite image from the NOAA in the summer of 2020. Dust from the Sarhara is an annual event, but the extensive size and area it covered dampened tropical development for more than a month. In spite of the dust cloud, the 2020 hurricane season turned  hyperactive with 31 tropical cyclones, 30 named storms, 14 hurricanes and 7 major hurricanes—the most active season on record.

The El Nino Southern Oscillation appears ready to swing toward the El Nino phase. Over the summer, the chance of a shift to El Nio has increased to 60 percent, according to the NOAA. The south-eastern Pacific Ocean surface temperatures affect Atlantic Ocean tropical weather systems. El Nino conditions are warmer ocean temperatures while La Nina indicates cooler ocean temperatures near the equator west of the Americas.

This is not the first time that NOAA has predicted a shift toward El Nino. Following the record-breaking 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season, forecasters predicted a shift in 2021 and in 2022. ENSO remained in a cool La Nina state which promotes more hurricanes in the Atlantic.The El Nino / La Nina area of the equatorial Pacific Ocean in a La Nina Phase January 2023 - NOAA Image

The area in blue indicates the lower surface sea temperatures associated with the La Nina phase of the eastern Pacific Ocean. La Nina affects weather systems in North America and the Atlantic Ocean and aids tropcial cyclone formation.

Since the 1990s, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation has stayed in a warm phase. Warmer ocean waters help storm development. The oscillation between cool and warm takes place over a twenty to forty years. The temperature difference is slight—less than one degree between extremes. It affects the entire Atlantic Basin north of the equator and possibly parts of the Pacific Ocean as well.

Ocean temperatures typically reach a peak around September-October, coinciding with peak tropical cyclone activity. They reach a low around March and April.

Graph of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation in January 2023. NOAA Graphic.

The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation or AMO is a long ocean temperature that affects tropical cyclone development. The current state is a warm phase. Using tree rings and ice cores, the AMO has swung less than 1 degree over the past 1000 years and probably longer—long before modern man began affecting climate.

With two of the better-known factors for determining the hurricane season outlook in opposition, the season intensity is an educated guess. The outlook presented by Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) in December indicates a below-average to average season.

If the El Nino Southern Oscillation remains in a cooler, La Nina phase (40 percent chance), we could have a more active season.

Hurricane Season Records and Outlook

Named Storms Hurricanes Major Hurricanes
Average (1991-2020 14.4 7.2 3.2
Record High (2020) 30 15 7
Record Low 4 2 0
TSR’s 2023 Prediction1 13 6 3

1 As of December 6, 2022.

Hurricane Ian Storm Surge. A House is Submerged to the eaves by storm surge water during hurricane Ian.

Fort Meyers, Florida.  Storm surge waters reach the eaves on a house and other houses and buildings in the background.

Hurricane Preparedness Resources

Did you know that a standby generator is built to run in any weather, including a hurricane? When an outage hits, they start in seconds and run until the utility restores power.