May 24, 2023 -Two clashing climatic behemoths, one natural and one with human fingerprints, will square off this summer to determine how quiet or chaotic the Atlantic hurricane season will be.
An El Nino is brewing and the natural weather event dramatically dampens hurricane activity. But at the same time record ocean heat is bubbling up in the Atlantic, partly stoked by human-caused climate change from the burning of coal, oil and gas, and it provides boosts of fuel for storms.
Many forecasters aren’t sure which weather titan will prevail because the scenario hasn’t happened before on this scale. Most of them are expecting a near-draw — something about average. And that includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, saying there’s a 40% chance of a near-normal season, 30% chance of an above-average season (more storms than usual) and a 30% chance of a below-normal season.
The federal agency Thursday announced its forecast of 12 to 17 named storms, five to nine becoming hurricanes and one to four powering into major hurricanes with winds greater than 110 mph. Normal is 14 named storms, with seven becoming hurricanes and three of them major hurricanes.