A slightly below-average level of tropical cyclone activity is projected for 2023 in the Atlantic basin, according to a forecast released today by Colorado State University’s (CSU) Department of Atmospheric Science.
Led by senior research scientist Phil Klotzbach, Ph.D., also a non-resident scholar at the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), the CSU Tropical Meteorology Project anticipates 13 named storms, six hurricanes, and two major hurricanes during the 2023 season, which starts on June 1 and continues through Nov. 30. A typical season has 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.
The 2022 season produced 14 named storms and eight hurricanes. Two reached major hurricane intensity – Fiona and Ian. Major hurricanes are defined as those with wind speeds reaching Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
Two hurricanes made continental U.S. landfall last year, including Category 4 Hurricane Ian, which struck Florida’s southwest Gulf Coast in Lee County on Sept. 28 with 150 miles per hour (mph) sustained winds. On Sept. 30, Ian made a second landfall as a Category 1 with 80 mph winds in South Carolina. Florida was also struck by Category 1 Hurricane Nicole along the state’s Atlantic Coast on Nov. 10, a rare November landfalling hurricane that made landfall near Vero Beach with 75 mph winds.
“The damage incurred from Ian and Nicole last year highlighted the importance of being financially protected from catastrophic losses and that includes having adequate levels of property insurance and flood coverage. In fact, we not only saw catastrophic flooding in coastal areas of Florida from these storms, but throughout inland communities as well, including Metro Orlando. All it takes is one storm to make it an active season for you and your family, so it is time to prepare as the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season’s start nears,” said Sean Kevelighan, CEO, Triple-I.
“This is an ideal time for homeowners and business owners to review their policies with an insurance professional to ensure they have the right amount and types of coverage, allowing them to be financially protected from property damage caused by either wind or water,” Kevelighan added. “That also means exploring whether they need flood coverage, which is not part of a standard homeowners, condo, renters or business insurance policy. Additionally, homeowners can make their residences more resilient to windstorms and torrential rain by installing roof tie-downs and a good drainage system.”
Klotzbach warned that “larger-than-normal uncertainty” exists with this year’s forecast due to evolving atmospheric conditions.
“Current neutral ENSO (El Niño–Southern Oscillation) conditions look fairly likely to transition to El Niño this summer/fall. However, there is considerable uncertainty as to how strong an El Niño would be if it does develop. Sea surface temperatures in the eastern and central Atlantic are much warmer than normal, so if a robust El Niño does not develop, the potential still exists for a busy Atlantic hurricane season,” Klotzbach said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers online resources to help business leaders make a preparedness plan for numerous hazards businesses face.
CSU’s 2023 forecast calls for a 44 percent chance of a major hurricane making a mainland U.S. landfall, 22 percent for the U.S. East Coast including the Florida Peninsula, and 28 percent for the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville, Texas.