(KTEN) – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its 2023 Atlantic hurricane season outlook on May 25.

With the start of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1, forecasters with the Climate Prediction Center predict a near-normal year in terms of tropical cyclone numbers. More specifically, forecasters predict a 40% chance of a near-average season, 30% chance of an above average season, and a 30% chance of a below average season.

The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season forecast

NOAA is forecasting around 12 to 17 named storms this year. Of those, 5 to 9 could become hurricanes, with 1 to 4 strengthening into major hurricanes. The list of names for the Atlantic have been compiled as well.

The 2023 Atlantic tropical cyclone name list

According to NOAA, the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be less active than recent years with some factors suppressing storm development and others fueling development. For this reason, forecasters are predicting a near-average season.

After a “triple-dip La Nina” during the past three hurricane seasons, scientists predict a high probability that El Nino will develop this summer, which is known to suppress tropical storm development. El Nino’s presence could be offset by an above average west African monsoons and above average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea. These factors aid in the development of African easterly waves, helping Atlantic storms live longer, as well as creating more energy to fuel storm development, respectively.

These factors are part of the longer term variability in Atlantic atmospheric and oceanic conditions that are conducive to hurricane development in the high-activity area of the Atlantic Basin, which have been producing more active Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995.

Above average sea surface temperatures could aid in the development of more hurricanes this year

To improve hurricane forecasts, NOAA is implementing a series of upgrades to its forecasting system. Operational capacity of its supercomputer will be increased by 20%, allowing scientists to run more complex forecast models.

NOAA also upgraded its Probabilistic Storm Surge model, which advances storm surge forecasting for the contiguous US and new forecasts for surge, tide, and waves for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Storm surge flooding is the leading cause in tropical cyclones, so this upgrade will assist in saving countless lives.

Additionally, the National Hurricane Center’s Tropical Weather Outlook graphic, which shows tropical cyclone formation potential, has been expanded from five to seven days. The Weather Prediction Center is also expanding its Excessive Rainfall Outlook from three to five days to assist in forecasting for flash flooding due to excessive rainfall. The National Weather Service is also unveiling a new generation of forecast flood inundation mapping for portions of Texas, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast in September 2023. These forecast maps will show the extent of flooding at street level and will be extended to the rest of the country in 2026.

New observing instruments will also be deployed, including additional Saildrones, underwater glides, and WindBorne global sounding balloons to advance our knowledge of hurricanes, fill critical data gaps, and improve hurricane forecast accuracy.

Saildrones are used to gain invaluable data from hurricanes

The peak of the Atlantic hurricane season does not arrive until early September, so we still have plenty of time to see how this year will pan out.

The start of the hurricane season is June 1

The Climate Prediction Center will issue another update in early August, just prior to the historical peak of the season.