AccuWeather’s 2023 Hurricane Season Forecast
Bottom Line: As usual the first forecast for the upcoming hurricane season is out and it’s from AccuWeather. And while most of us aren’t yet thinking about hurricane season there’s improved news. For the first time in years, due to the end of the La Nina cycle, the AccuWeather forecast isn’t calling for an above average season. In fact, it’s calling for an exceeding average one. But before diving into this year’s forecast, how accurate were they in last year’s predictions? As I'm inclined to say, I’d like to see the meteorological industry nail the same day forecast before convincing me to take a hurricane forecast seriously months in advance. But then again, there is a science to it that’s different than the same day forecast. Here’s AccuWeather’s report card from last year.
Last year their forecast predicted:
- 16-20 named storms (actual 14)
- 6-8 hurricanes (actual 8)
- 3-5 major hurricanes (actual 2)
- 4-6 US landfalls (actual 3)
Like most of the major hurricane forecasters AccuWeather significantly overestimated what the 2022 hurricane season would bring. That included the total number of named storms falling below the lowest end of their projected range, ditto the number of major hurricanes to develop and the total number of US landfalls by named storms. They only proved accurate with the total number of hurricanes to develop. With that in mind, what’s their 2023 outlook calling for?
- 11-15 named storms
- 4-8 hurricanes
- 1-3 major hurricanes
- 2-4 US landfalls
AccuWeather has significantly lowered their forecast projections across the board, cutting total expected tropical activity by about 28% over last year’s preseason forecast. As mentioned, this is in response to the ending of the Pacific’s La Nina cycle, which creates conditions in the Atlantic which are more favorable for tropical development. What’s more is that AccuWeather is anticipating El Nino is likely to build into its place, which if it happens is the least favorable for tropical development and would likely lead to a season closer to the lower end of their projected range. We experienced above average cycles annually from 2016-2021 with last year’s cycle proving to be average. The current conditions entering hurricane season are least favorable for tropical development in eight years. In Southeast Florida we’ve been fortunate to not experience the direct impact of hurricane force winds since Irma in 2017. Let’s hope to keep it that way. The AccuWeather forecast provides a reason to feel optimistic that we can extend the streak this year. Fingers crossed.