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‘Active or extremely active’ 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, forecast by NOAA


The last of the forecasters who we follow on Artemis, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA, has now published its forecast for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season. The NOAA has joined all the other forecasters we follow by predicting an above average hurricane season.

The NOAA always waits until just before the start of the hurricane season to release its forecast, but it is one of the forecasts that the industry tends to take the most notice of. In its 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook issued late yesterday, the NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts an active or extremely active season this year.

For the six-month 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins on the 1st June and runs to the end of November, the NOAA’s Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook predicts a 70% likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (with winds of 74 mph or higher), with 3 to 6 reaching major hurricane status (Category 3, 4 or 5 with winds of 111 mph or higher).

Compared to the long-term seasonal average, the NOAA forecast is calling for a much more active year. The season averages are for 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

The NOAA cites three climate conditions, which are expected to come together to lift Atlantic hurricane activity and which it expects will lead to an active or extremely active season in 2013. These are:

  • A continuation of the atmospheric climate pattern, which includes a strong west African monsoon, that is responsible for the ongoing era of high activity for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995;
  • Warmer-than-average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea; and
  • El Niño is not expected to develop and suppress hurricane formation.

“This year, oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the Atlantic basin are expected to produce more and stronger hurricanes,” commented Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “These conditions include weaker wind shear, warmer Atlantic waters and conducive winds patterns coming from Africa.”

The NOAA says that the Eastern Pacific and Central Pacific basins are expected to have below normal activity this year.

Every Atlantic season forecast so far has been for an above average level of activity in terms of storm formation and intensification in 2013. We’ve added the forecast averages to the table on our hurricane season page. The average forecast for named storm formation is for 16, the average for hurricanes is 9 and the average for major hurricanes is 4. That would be an active season by anyones measurement.

We expect to see some updates from certain forecasters around the start of the 2013 hurricane season on the 1st June. We will keep you updated as these final forecast updates for the hurricane season are published and once the season begins you will be able to keep track of every storm using our dedicated 2013 Atlantic hurricane season page.

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