The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be “near normal,” scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted Thursday.
According to NOAA, the Atlantic hurricane season should produce 12 to 17 named storms with five to nine hurricanes this year. One to four of those storms will be a major hurricane, the agency said. A major hurricane is one with wind speeds of 111 mph, which corresponds to a Category 3 hurricane.
A tropical system becomes a hurricane when it reaches sustained winds of 74 mph.
There were 14 named storms, including eight hurricanes and two major hurricanes, during the 2022 hurricane season. An average hurricane season would see 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes, according to NOAA.
Researchers said that the emergence of an El Nino this summer could help in weakening the 2023 hurricane season. El Nino, which is a naturally occurring weather pattern, tends to keep water temperatures lower than average in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, where the storms form.
While an average year is expected, officials say it is never too early to prepare for a storm.
“It’s absolutely crucial that all Americans living in potential paths of these storms, even well inland of the coasts, follow NOAA’s guidance for preparation and determine your risk, develop an evacuation plan, and assemble the disaster supplies that you may need,” Deputy Commerce Secretary Don Graves said during a news conference Thursday.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.