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Weather officials predict more 2023 Atlantic hurricanes

The outlook for the hurricane season has been moved from “a near-normal level of activity to an above-normal level of activity” by the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA’s update today cited “record-warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures”, which the agency said would likely counter the power of the El Niño system in the Pacific to suppress Atlantic tropical cyclones.

In May, the agency issued a forecast of 12 to 17 named storms with winds of 39 miles per hour or higher and, of those, five to nine that could become hurricanes, with winds of 74mph or higher — including one to four major hurricanes, category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111mph or higher.

The update stated: “NOAA’s update to the 2023 outlook — which covers the entire six-month hurricane season that ends on November 30 — calls for 14-21 named storms (winds of 39mph or greater), of which 6 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74mph or greater). Of those, 2 to 5 could become major hurricanes (winds of 111mph or greater).“

Hurricanes draw their power from the warmth of the sea and ocean surface temperatures off Florida and into the Caribbean have climbed unusually high, potentially boosting the potency of storms.

Areas of warm ocean in the Atlantic have also expanded, increasing the range where hurricanes can form.

In May, NOAA officials gave the likelihood of an above-normal hurricane season as 30 per cent. That figure has been upped to 60 per cent.

At present, the US National Hurricane Centre shows no activity in the Atlantic expected over the next 48 hours.

The Atlantic hurricane season has so far produced a single hurricane, Don, which formed in July.

September and October are critical months in the season, which began on June 1.

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Published August 10, 2023 at 4:00 pm (Updated August 10, 2023 at 11:01 pm)

Weather officials predict more 2023 Atlantic hurricanes

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