RALEIGH, N.C. — On the same day an El Niño watch was issued nationally, long-range forecasters at universities in Colorado and North Carolina released their predictions for the hurricane season ahead.
Colorado State University’s team said it is expecting slightly below-average hurricane activity for the 2023 season.
In the university’s Atlantic Seasonal Hurricane Activity forecast, CSU forecasted 13 named storms, six hurricanes, and two major hurricanes for 2023. The average is 14.4 named storms, 7.2 hurricanes, and 3.2 major hurricanes.
Also on Thursday, North Carolina State University released its own predictions, which didn’t stray too far from Colorado State’s.
Researchers at NC State said the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season will see 11 to 15 named storms forming in the Atlantic basin. The basin includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.
Of the predicted 11 out of 15 named storms, between six and eight will grow strong enough to become hurricanes, they said. Two to three of those storms could become major hurricanes.
A weaker Atlantic hurricane season is in line with the El Niño pattern that’s expected to take over by late summer or early fall. While El Niño can strengthen hurricane season in the central and eastern Pacific, it tends to contribute to weaker hurricanes forming in the Atlantic basin.
Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center said there is a 62% chance El Niño will take over between May and July, and an 80% to 90% probability it will form by fall.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1 to Nov. 30 every year.