In this geocolor image GOES-16 satellite image taken Thursday, Sep. 7, 2017, at 11:15 a.m. EDT, shows the eye of Hurricane Irma, center, just north of the island of Hispaniola, with Hurricane Katia, left, in the Gulf of Mexico, and Hurricane Jose, right, in the Atlantic Ocean. Irma, a fearsome Category 5 storm, cut a path of devastation across the northern Caribbean, leaving at least 10 dead and thousands homeless after destroying buildings and uprooting trees on a track Thursday that could lead to a catastrophic strike on Florida. (NOAA via AP)
MEMA urges Mississippians not to wait for a tropical storm or hurricane to get in the Gulf of Mexico to prepare.
The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season starts Thursday, June 1st and runs through November 30th. Forecasters are now saying that the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be less active than recent years.
That is the word from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasters with the Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. NOAA is predicting near-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic this year.
The news is certainly welcome, if proven true, for those along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. Residents annually face the possibility of tropical weather threats whether in the form of tropical storms or intense, devastating hurricanes.
NOAA predicts a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season and a 30% chance of a below-normal season.
As part of its forecast, NOAA says the year could see a range of 12 to 17 total named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher). Of those, 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA has a 70% confidence in these ranges.
El Nino Predicted to Develop
Their forecast is due to competing factors, they say, some of which suppress storm development and some that fuel it. NOAA wrote in a statement:
After three hurricane seasons with La Nina present, NOAA scientists predict a high potential for El Nino to develop this summer, which can suppress Atlantic hurricane activity. El Nino’s potential influence on storm development could be offset by favorable conditions local to the tropical Atlantic Basin. Those conditions include the potential for an above-normal west African monsoon, which produces African easterly waves and seeds some of the stronger and longer-lived Atlantic storms, and warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea which creates more energy to fuel storm development. These factors are part of the longer term variability in Atlantic atmospheric and oceanic conditions that are conducive to hurricane development — known as the high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes — which have been producing more active Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995.
2023 Storm Names
The 2023 Atlantic tropical cyclone names are shown below. These are selected by the World Meteorological Organization.
MEMA Says Prepare Now
Local and state emergency management officials have been preparing for hurricane season for months. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has encouraged those most likely to face the impacts of such severe weather to prepare an evacuation plan and ensure important papers are readily accessible should a hurricane threaten.
“Don’t wait for a tropical storm or hurricane to get in the Gulf of Mexico to prepare. Protect your families now by getting ready,” said MEMA’s Executive Director Stephen McCraney during the recent Hurricane Preparedness Week. “While the State is prepared to respond to a hurricane, the First 72 Hours Are On You. That means you need at least 72 hours worth of food and water for each family member. Take time today to prepare yourself and your family for a storm.”
In addition to an evacuation plan and having documents available, MEMA encourages every Mississippi family, not just those on the Coast, to have a fully stocked disaster supply kit with necessities like water, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, and other immediate needs. To download a copy of the disaster supply checklist, click here.
MEMA also encourages homeowners to do an insurance check before hurricane season. Homeowners should consider purchasing flood insurance if a home is in a special flood hazard zone.