National Weather Service meteorologist recaps 2023 hurricane season

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Hurricane season is drawing to a close, and though it seemed fairly quiet, this year actually brought the fourth most named storms on record for a single season.

“That falls within the predicted range that was issued earlier in the year. We thought it was going to be an above normal year,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Gillmore. “Fortunately, we didn’t see any significant impacts other than Idalia, which was a category three. We didn’t see a large number of systems make landfall.”

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The year, 2023 brought record-warm sea surface temperatures across the Atlantic Ocean, which fuels a hurricane. Luckily, this year is an El Niño season, which means especially strong winds were seen across the tropics, making a lot of these storms more challenging to form.

“This year we had a lot of activity out towards the central and northern Atlantic. A lot of curvatures away from the coastline. Although we still had one or two that grazed the coast, Ophelia and Lee caused impacts across the East Coast, but the rest were out the central Atlantic. There’s really no rhyme or reason to where they go so far out in advance really after the forecast is made.”

For the most part, it’s exactly what experts had predicted for the season. Gillmore says it’s not always an easy call to make. Instead, there are a lot of factors that feed into the forecast.

“It’s a very involved process of looking at different types of El Niño La Nina phases, see surface temperature anomalies, climatic patterns and how they’ve been shifting from time to time. It’s a very complicated procedure in how they look at it. A lot goes into it.”

The pattern causes many to believe two minor hurricane seasons in a row could warrant a more active season in 2024, but Gillmore says there’s really no way to be sure.

“All we say is to be prepared because we don’t have any numbers to show for next year. We’re just going to have to keep an eye on it.”

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