AccuWeather sees average-to-fewer Atlantic storms this hurricane season


HOUSTON, March 29 (Reuters) - U.S. private forecaster AccuWeather expects a near-average to below-average 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins June 1, according to a forecast issued on Wednesday.

AccuWeather said it expects between 11-15 named tropical storms, 4-8 hurricanes and between one and three major hurricanes to form in the Atlantic Ocean before the season ends on Nov. 30.

AccuWeather expects possible increasing wind shear across the southern United States and the central Atlantic will break up storms fueled by warmer than average sea surface temperatures.

"We think El Nino will drive this season," said Dan Kottlowski, lead hurricane forecaster for AccuWeather.

An El Nino forms when areas of the eastern and central Pacific warm and wind directions change, creating high winds across the southern United States that break apart tropical storms.

The 2022 hurricane season fell below early forecasts producing 14 named tropical storms and eight hurricanes of which four were considered to be major with winds of at least 111 miles per hour (mph) (179 kph).

At least 160 people were killed as Hurricane Ian crossed Cuba and the U.S. states of Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia in September and October 2022.

Kottlowski noted that even in a year when fewer storms are expected, people as far as 100 miles (160 km) inland have to prepare for tropical storms.

"The problem is that Russian roulette thing we play," Kottlowski said. "Where is it going to hit?"

Increasing global temperatures are seen by meteorologists as a cause of more intense storms and higher rainfall totals increasing damage and costs of recovery.

Forecasts for the previous seven hurricane seasons have predicted above-average levels of activity.

In 2020, the U.S. National Hurricane Center ran out of names for the storms and had to use Greek letters, a practice that has been discontinued.

Between 1990 and 2020, the average season has seen 14 named tropical storms, seven hurricanes with three of those considered to be major.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Marguerita Choy

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.