Preparations are kicking off ahead of the official start of this year’s hurricane season on June 1, which officials expect to bring one to four major storms.
A press conference organized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on May 25 predicted that this year’s Atlantic hurricane season will produce “near-normal” activity.
This means there will be around 12 to 17 storms with winds of 39 mph or higher — the determining characteristic of tropical storms.
Of these storms, five to nine could become hurricanes, with winds surpassing 74 mph. One to four of these hurricanes might reach winds of 111 mph or more, qualifying them as Categories 3-5.
For perspective, Hurricane Ian was a Category 5 storm and caused great devastation to areas of Florida in 2022, as The Dallas Express reported.
NOAA has a 70% confidence in these predictions indicating a hurricane season that will be less active than in recent years. This is largely driven by the influences of El Niño this summer, a climate pattern that periodically warms surface water temperatures of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and the Caribbean Sea.
While dampening the Atlantic hurricane season, this year’s El Niño is expected to be especially strong and thus driving the risk of hurricanes, floods, and landslides on the West Coast.
As The Dallas Express reported, the severity and reach of hurricanes are expected to increase overall in the next 30 years. Projections from First Street Foundation, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit, suggest tropical cyclone winds will move further inland to affect states like Tennessee, Kentucky, or Illinois.
The NOAA will launch a new hurricane forecast model in late June that should allow for tropical cyclones to be identified sooner — up to seven days beforehand.
As NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad explained during the press conference, this “will provide emergency managers and communities with more time to prepare for storms.”
The list of 21 names sequentially assigned to these powerful natural phenomena as they happen over the course of the Atlantic hurricane season plays a significant role in communication and risk management.
The World Meteorological Organization, which rotates the names every six years and retires some if they refer to a particularly devastating storm, arranged the following list of names for hurricanes this year: