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America’s National Hurricane Centre predicts near normal 2023 Atlantic hurricane season

Fiona as a major category four hurricane as it moves northward on September 22nd, 2022 on satellite imagery courtesy of NASA. Fiona would landfall as a devastating post-tropical storm on the Canso Peninsula of Nova Scotia on the morning of September 24th. Fiona as a major category four hurricane as it moves northward on September 22nd, 2022 on satellite imagery courtesy of NASA. Fiona would landfall as a devastating post-tropical storm on the Canso Peninsula of Nova Scotia on the morning of September 24th.
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America’s National Hurricane Centre, as part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), has released a prediction for a near normal 2023 Atlantic hurricane season.

The organization is calling for 12 to 17 named storms, with five to nine becoming hurricanes. Of those, one to four are expected to become major hurricanes, which are category three to category five by definition.

The probability forecast for the season is given as a 40 per cent chance of being near normal, 30 per cent chance of above normal, and 30 per cent chance of below normal.

The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season finished near normal with 14 named storms, eight hurricanes, and two major hurricanes.

One of the two major hurricanes in 2022 was of course Hurricane Fiona. The storm reached category four before transitioning to a powerful post-tropical storm that caused a devastating amount of damage to Atlantic Canada. In January, the Insurance Bureau of Canada estimated the insured damages related to the storm will reach $800 million, making it the costliest weather event for the region. The name Fiona has been retired from use in future hurricane lists, in part due to those costs.

The forecast comes out of an analysis of competing factors for the upcoming season. Working against a favourable hurricane season is an expected El Nino in the Pacific. An El Nino is the presence of warmer surface water temperatures in the eastern Pacific near South America. El Nino often comes with stronger winds over the tropical and sub-tropical Atlantic, which can work to tear apart clusters of thunderstorms before they can strengthen in to a tropical storm or hurricane.

Also impacting hurricane development is the expectation of stronger west African monsoon season. The thunderstorms produced by the monsoon season can drift over the tropical waters of the Atlantic and act as the “seed” for a tropical storm or hurricane. Additionally warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures are still being observed in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean. Warmer ocean waters are the “fuel” for tropical storms and hurricanes.

The list of names to be used for named storms for the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Regardless of how many tropical storms or hurricanes develop in a season it only takes one land-falling storm to have dire consequences. You should have a plan in place in the event of an impacting tropical storm, hurricane, or post-tropical storm. Those plans should include how to go 72 hours or longer without power. For help creating an emergency plan the Government of Canada offers resources at: www.getprepared.gc.ca/index-en.aspx.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre will be holding a briefing on the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season at 2 PM ADT. More to come.

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