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The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season forecast is ‘near-normal’ — but there’s a wild card

A satellite view of a a storm swirling over an ocean
Typhoon Mawar on May 24th, 2023. | Image: NASA Earth Observatory image by Allison Nussbaum

After a few years of heightened risk, the Atlantic hurricane season is shaping up to look pretty average for 2023. That’s thanks to an unusually long-lasting weather pattern called La Niña finally ending, with its counterpart, El Niño, expected to soon develop. The caveat is that there’s more uncertainty in this year’s seasonal forecast than normal because of unusually warm temperatures in the Atlantic.

Those factors tend to have opposite effects on hurricane season. El Niño generally ushers in milder storms in the Atlantic. But warmer waters provide more fuel for tropical storms to strengthen. So we’ll have to wait and see how these competing forces influence this year’s season.

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