JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting an average 2023 Atlantic hurricane season.
The administration, also known as NOAA, made the announcement Thursday morning at the Center for Weather and Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Md.
The official forecast from the administration is calling for 12-17 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes and 1-4 major hurricanes in the Atlantic basin.
This would be a less active hurricane season than the past couple of years and would be a more typical hurricane season.
The 30-year average for the Atlantic is 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.
NOAA is forecasting a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of a below-average season and a 30% chance of an above-average season.
El Nino vs. Warm water
One of the key indicators calling for an average season is the impact of a developing El Nino.
Meteorologists are becoming highly confident that an El Nino will be developing during the summer months.
An El Nino is when prolonged warmer-than-average water temperatures develop off the coast of Peru into the central Pacific.
El Nino helps suppress tropical activity in the Atlantic by increasing wind shear. Wind shear helps reduce tropical storms and hurricanes from developing.
There are also key developments that may counter some of the El Nino impacts.
Water temperatures across much of the tropical Atlantic are already above-average, with a good deal of the basin above 80 degrees.
Warm water helps act as fuel for tropical storms and hurricanes. The more available warm water, the more fuel available for development.
In addition, forecasters are noting the likelihood of an above-average West African monsoon.
The enhanced monsoon can lead to additional African tropical waves. These waves can organize and become tropical storms and hurricanes.
Forecasters did note there is some uncertainty about this year, including the strength of El Nino.
Hurricane season begins on June 1.