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The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season will officially end Nov. 30 with the fourth-highest total of named storms in a year since 1950, according to a report Monday from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The “above-normal” Atlantic hurricane season, characterized by record-warm Atlantic sea-surface temperatures and a strong El Nino, produced 20 named storms in 2023, including seven hurricanes, three of which intensified to major hurricanes. This compares with an average season that has 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes, NOAA said.
Hurricane Idalia, the only hurricane to make U.S. landfall in 2023, hit as a Category-3 hurricane on Aug. 30 near Keaton Beach, Florida, causing storm surge inundation of 7 to 12 feet and widespread rainfall flooding in Florida and throughout the southeast, according to the report.
Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall as a strong tropical storm with 70 mph winds on Emerald Isle, N.C., on Sept. 23, causing widespread heavy rainfall, gusty winds and significant river and storm surge flooding in portions of eastern North Carolina.
“The record-warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic provided a strong counterbalance to the traditional El Nino impacts,” Matthew Rosencrans, lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of NOAA’s National Weather Service, said in the report.
The eastern Pacific basin hurricane season was also above normal with 17 named storms, 10 of which were hurricanes including eight major hurricanes.
Hurricane Otis made landfall near Acapulco, Mexico, on Oct. 25 as a Category-5 hurricane with sustained winds of 165 mph and holds the record as the strongest landfalling hurricane in the eastern Pacific, NOAA said.
The Administration has bolstered its data collection activities this year with the use of drones as NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft flew 468 mission hours to collect atmospheric data, the report said.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center plans to issue its 2024 hurricane seasonal outlook in May 2024.