2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook Summary

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2013 - NOAA’s 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook indicates that an above-normal season is most likely, with the possibility that the season could be very active. The outlook calls for a 70% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 5% chance of a below-normal season. See NOAA definitions of above-, near-, and below-normal seasons, which have been slightly modified from previous years. The Atlantic hurricane region includes the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico.

The 2013 seasonal hurricane outlook reflects a combination of climate factors that have historically produced above-normal Atlantic hurricane seasons. The three main climate factors for this outlook are:

1) The ongoing set of atmospheric conditions that have been producing increased Atlantic hurricane activity since 1995, which includes
2) An expected continuation of above-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and
3) A likely continuation of ENSO-neutral conditions (i.e., no El Niño or La Niña); meaning El Niño is not expected to develop and suppress the hurricane season.

This combination of climate factors historically produces above-normal Atlantic hurricane seasons. The 2013 hurricane season could see activity comparable to some of the very active seasons since 1995.

Based on the current and expected conditions, combined with model forecasts, we estimate a 70% probability for each of the following ranges of activity during 2013:

13-20 Named Storms
7-11 Hurricanes
3-6 Major Hurricanes
Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) range of 120%-205%
The seasonal activity is expected to fall within these ranges in 70% of seasons with similar climate conditions and uncertainties to those expected this year. These ranges do not represent the total possible ranges of activity seen in past similar years.

Note that the expected ranges are centered well above the official NHC 1981-2010 seasonal averages of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.

This Atlantic hurricane season outlook will be updated in early August, which coincides with the onset of the peak months of the hurricane season.

Hurricane Landfalls:
While NOAA does not make an official seasonal hurricane landfall outlook, the historical likelihood for multiple U.S. hurricane strikes, and for multiple hurricane strikes in the region around the Caribbean Sea, increases sharply for very active (or hyperactive) seasons (ACE > 165% of median). It only takes one storm hitting an area to cause a disaster, regardless of the overall activity predicted in the seasonal outlook. Therefore, residents, businesses, and government agencies of coastal and near-coastal regions are urged to prepare every hurricane season regardless of this, or any other, seasonal outlook.

Predicting where and when hurricanes will strike is related to daily weather patterns, which are not reliably predictable weeks or months in advance. Therefore, it is currently not possible to accurately predict the number or intensity of landfalling hurricanes at these extended ranges, or whether a particular locality will be impacted by a hurricane this season.

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