Very busy 2023 Atlantic hurricane season officially ends

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In terms of the most named storms in a year, the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ends on Thursday, is ranked fourth since 1950.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Record-warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures and a robust El Nino contributed to the above-average 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ends today.

With 20 named storms in the Atlantic basin in 2023, it ranks fourth for the most storm names in a year since 1950. Seven storms were hurricanes, and three intensified into major hurricanes. There are typically three major hurricanes, seven hurricanes, and fourteen named storms in a season. 

“The Atlantic basin produced the most named storms of any El Nino-influenced year in the modern record,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead hurricane forecaster at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.

He said, “The record-warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic provided a strong counterbalance to the traditional El Nino impacts.”

Hurricane Idalia was the only hurricane to make landfall in the United States in 2023. On August 30, it made landfall as a category 3 hurricane close to Keaton Beach, Florida. This resulted in a 7–12-foot storm surge and extensive rainfall flooding in Florida and the southeast.

On September 23, Ophelia made landfall as a powerful tropical storm with winds of up to 70 mph near Emerald Isle, North Carolina. This led to widespread heavy rainfall, gusty winds, and significant flooding in parts of eastern North Carolina caused by rivers and storm surges.

On September 16, Hurricane Lee made landfall in Nova Scotia, Canada, as a post-tropical cyclone. Lee’s swells created hazardous rip currents and surf conditions all the way along the Atlantic coast of the United States. Maine and some parts of Canada experienced widespread power outages due to strong winds and hurricane-force gusts from Lee.

The August updated outlook from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center showed that the 2023 Atlantic seasonal activity was within the expected ranges for named storms and hurricanes.