NOAA released its official 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season forecast on Thursday morning. The forecast from NOAA calls for a near-average hurricane season for 2023.

NOAA says there is a 40 percent chance of a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season. They are calling for 12-17 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes and 1-4 major hurricanes this season. This is close to the average for the season of 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

This is similar to the Colorado State University (CSU) forecast that came out earlier in the year. The CSU forecast calls for 13 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes for this season. While NOAA calls for a near-average season, CSU expects the season to be slightly below-average.

The reason why these forecasts are calling for a near or below-normal season is because of global weather patterns that are setting up. El Niño is one of those global patterns that impact the tropical season. El Niño creates strong wind patterns over the Atlantic that result in stronger wind shear, suppressing storm development. However, El Niño is just a piece in the puzzle of the Atlantic hurricane season.

While the increased wind shear from El Niño may result in fewer storms developing, there are other factors like the African monsoon that can send waves off of Africa and into the Atlantic. These waves then have a chance to develop into tropical systems as they travel across the Atlantic. NOAA says that there is a potential for an above-normal West African monsoon. This would lead to more waves coming off of Africa, and the potential for stronger, longer-lived storms. In addition to this, sea surface temperatures have been warmer than normal in the tropical Atlantic. These warmer waters could fuel more tropical development through the season.

With the Atlantic hurricane season beginning on June 1, we will be watching for the first named storm to develop. When it does, the name given to it will be Arlene. Hopefully, we will not exhaust the list of names this year, but if we do there is an alternate list of names that can be used to name more storms and it starts with Adria.

The Weather Authority will be keeping an eye on the tropics through the upcoming season and will keep you up to date with the latest.