The U.S. Weather Service forecast on Thursday that the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season will be “close to normal,” with between one and four Category 3 or higher hurricanes.
It lasts from the beginning of June to the end of November.
Despite these statistics, “it only takes one storm to destroy your community,” warns Rick Spinrad, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which issues these forecasts.
In total, it could form between 12 and 17 storms (with winds up to 62 km/h) that would be assigned a name according to NOAA. Between five and nine could become hurricanes (above 119 km/h), including one and four Category 3 or higher (from 178 km/h).
For years, the agency had been predicting more activity than usual.
The La Niña weather event — which originates in the equatorial Pacific Ocean but has effects for the entire planet — has been around for three years.
But the US agency is now firmly predicting that the opposite phenomenon, El Nino, will form this summer. However, this moderates hurricane activity in the Atlantic, NOAA explains.
However, the US firm cautioned that this effect could be offset by favorable conditions domestically.
In 2022, Hurricane Ian especially devastated Florida, killing dozens and causing more than $100 billion in damage alone — the costliest weather disaster in the world last year.
In general, with global warming, hurricanes will become more powerful, scientists say, fueled by warmer ocean surfaces.
“These storms are going to continue to grow faster, they’re going to be more powerful, they’re going to last longer,” Dean Criswell, head of the federal agency in charge of Natural Disaster Response (FEMA), said Thursday. .
“There are three things everyone needs to do today,” he said: assess the risks they face based on where they live, make sure they get the right information (through warning systems, weather apps, etc.) and know what to do in the event of an emergency.
“Do you know where you would go if asked to evacuate?” For example, Ms. Criswell asked. “The time to prepare is now.”