Earlier this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, projected a “near-normal” Atlantic Hurricane Season for 2023. Given recent tropical activity and abnormally warm ocean waters, the agency has updated its outlook to “above-normal” status. While it is not unusual for NOAA to change its prediction as the season goes on, it is still reason for concern for those who live or work in areas potentially at risk from tropical weather events. Preparedness, as always, is key to response and resilience. 

An “above-normal” hurricane season means that rather than the possibility of 12 to 17 named storms, there may be 14 to 21 of them. Of those, 2-5 could become major hurricanes, i.e., winds of 111 mph or greater. 

 These updated ranges include storms that have already formed this season, including Hurricane Idalia, which recently battered parts of Florida with high wind, heavy rain, and record-breaking storm surge. Presently, Hurricane Lee is meandering through the Atlantic as a dangerous category 3 storm. Its long-term track remains uncertain, but the hurricane will likely cause dangerous surf and rip currents for Bermuda and the U.S. East Coast as it moves toward Nova Scotia, Canada. 

Also churning in the Atlantic is Hurricane Margot, but she poses no risk to the U.S., along with a broad area of low pressure over the eastern tropical Atlantic. This system is expected to consolidate, with a low on the western side becoming dominant over the next day or two. Cyclone formation chance over the next seven days is high, per NOAA and the National Hurricane Center, at 70%. While it’s far too early to project its progression, rest assured all eyes are watching and waiting.

While the Atlantic hurricane season began months back in June, September is certainly no time for people to let their guard down. Accordingly, federal officials warn people who live in hurricane-prone areas not to focus too much on the total number of storms because just one storm can cause significant damage. <