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Florida's Climate Adaptation Center predicts 14 named storms for 2023 hurricane season

 Hundreds of homes in the city of North Port in Sarasota County were impacted by flooding in the wake of Hurricane Ian.
City of North Port
Hundreds of homes in the city of North Port in Sarasota County were impacted by flooding in the wake of Hurricane Ian.

The Climate Adaptation Center is forecasting 14 named storms for the 2023 hurricane season.

The center, based in Sarasota, says seven of the predicted 14 named storms will reach hurricane status with two or three major hurricanes — that is, Category 3 or higher. The predictions means this season is expected to be normal or slightly busier.

Bob Bunting, CEO of the Climate Adaptation Center, says many factors contribute to forecasting hurricanes.

One of the predictors of potential storms is water temperature in the Gulf of Mexico.

"There's a current out there called the loop current and it’s already close to 80 degrees Fahrenheit,” Bunting said.

“Hurricanes form when waters are 76 or more so we're already at 80 and it’s just the beginning of April and, you know, the Gulf is going to get a lot warmer."

And while warm water is still a concern, Bunting says another predictor is more favorable when it comes to limiting the strength of hurricanes.

Most forecast models show weak El Niño conditions as the 2023 season progresses, meaning wind shear would impact a hurricane’s potential power.

“A developing El Niño especially could help tamp down hurricane formation during the peak months of August through October,” Bunting said.

But Bunting says all Floridians should have a hurricane plan.

If a storm should form in the south-central Gulf this year, it could intensify quickly and become a major hurricane just one or two days before making landfall, he said.

"Hurricane Ian grew from a weak tropical storm to a 150-mph sustained wind monster hurricane in less than 48 hours,” Bunting said.

“Everyone should know where they're going this year within the next 30 days and if you do, we're going to save lives in the event that we have a Category 2 or higher storm."

Bunting also says Florida will experience additional impacts due to hurricanes that are stronger and slower moving.

"We will experience hurricane conditions further inland away from the shoreline,” he said. “The shorelines will get the storm surge, the inland areas a few days later will get inland flooding and hurricane force winds as these storms slowly move in."

The Atlantic hurricane season officially starts June 1.

The busiest part of the season for the Atlantic Basin typically begins in August.
Copyright 2023 WUSF 89.7. To see more, visit WUSF 89.7.

Cathy Carter is the education reporter for WUSF 89.7 and StateImpact Florida.
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