The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has raised the possibility of seeing an “above-average” Atlantic Hurricane Season.
“NOAA forecasters have increased the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season to 60 percent (increased from the outlook issued in May, which predicted a 30 percent chance),” according to an August 10 update from NOAA. “The likelihood of near-normal activity has decreased to 25 percent, down from the 40 percent chances outlined in May’s outlook. This new update gives the Atlantic a 15 percent chance of seeing a below-normal season.”
The organization explained that the conditions across the Atlantic, including exceptionally warm ocean temperatures, favor developing cyclones. Cyclonic development is expected despite the region experiencing an “El Niño” weather event. (El Niño typically helps to reduce tropical activity in the Atlantic.)
“El Niño usually results in atmospheric conditions that help to lessen tropical activity during the Atlantic hurricane season. So far, those limiting conditions have been slow to develop, and climate scientists are forecasting that the associated impacts that tend to limit tropical cyclone activity may not be in place for much of the remaining hurricane season,” according to the update from NOAA.
“A below-normal wind shear forecast, slightly below-normal Atlantic trade winds, and a near- or above-normal West African Monsoon were also key factors in shaping this updated seasonal forecast,” the update continues.
2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season Storms
As of August 13, five storms have formed so far during this year’s hurricane season, including an “unnamed” cyclone at the beginning of the year. While the tropical activity has been relatively minor so far, there are no guarantees that this pattern will continue.
September is typically the most active period for hurricanes to develop, and it is vital to be prepared. As islanders know, it only takes one storm to cause significant destruction.
Preparing for Cyclones
USVI visitors and residents can obtain information about weather alerts and emergency storm shelters from the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency. Weather updates from the National Hurricane Center will also be posted regularly on the Source Weather Page.
A detailed list from the National Weather Service about hurricane preparedness is available here.