MIKE MOSS SAYS: Kat, While there are some groups who make forecasts of the overall number of tropical cyclones that will form in the Atlantic Basin each year, there is no reliable way to translate that down to a small region to get a sense of what to expect in "our area." It's kind of an old cliche by now, but a very active season really doesn't matter too much if most of the storms remain out at sea, for example, while a very inactive season is cold comfort if the one major hurricane of the year happens to track across a place that you care about.
This season's forecasts are for somewhat above average activity, with the team at Colorado State University predicting 15 named storms (average is 10), 8 hurricanes (average 6), and 4 major hurricanes of category three or higher intensity (average 2). NOAA's Climate Prediction Center issues their forecast with ranges and with a probabalistic caveat - their seasonal forecast calls for 12-16 named storms, 6-9 hurricanes, and 2-5 major hurricanes, with a note that there is a 65% percent change of an above normal season, a 25% chance of a near normal season, and a 10% chance of a below normal season. Finally, a group at NCSU predicts 13-15 named storms and 6-8 hurricanes.
For more on the tropical season, including storm names, tracking maps, and planning/preparedness tips, see our hurricane section at www.wral.com/weather/hurricanes/.
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