The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season finished on November 30. It saw 20 named storms.
WASHINGTON — The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season is over, officially coming to an end on November 30.
Meteorologists say the season saw above-average activity, with 20 named storms. It ranks fourth for the most named storms since 1950. Of those 20 tropical storms, seven intensified into hurricanes with three that were major hurricanes.
A “major” hurricane is defined as a Category 3 or greater on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, with sustained winds of at least 111 mph. Fortunately, only one major hurricane made landfall in the United States this season. Hurricane Idalia was a Category 3 with sustained winds of 125 mph when it made landfall near Keaton Beach, Florida on August 30.
Weaker Tropical Storm Harold made landfall in Texas on August 21 with less significant impacts. Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall in North Carolina just below hurricane strength on September 22. It brought gusty winds and beneficial rainfall to the Mid-Atlantic Region, including the nation’s capital. The impacts from these two storms were less impactful than Idalia’s were.
The strongest storm of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season was Hurricane Lee. It reached Category 5 intensity on September 8 over the open Atlantic Ocean with peak winds of 165 mph and a minimum central air pressure of 926 millibars (standard sea level air pressure is approximately 1013.25 mb). Typically, the lower the air pressure, the stronger the storm is. Fortunately, Lee didn’t make landfall as a Category 5 storm, but rather as a weaker, non-tropical storm in Nova Scotia, Canada.
However, the fact Hurricane Lee reached Category 5 intensity at all was significant. That made the 2023 season the sixth in the last eight years with at least one Category 5 Atlantic storm. It’s also important to note that while 20 storms developed (higher than NOAA’s seasonal average of 14), the 2023 season had just an average total number of hurricanes (7) and major hurricanes (3).
NOAA’s forecast for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season called for it to be near to slightly busier than average. It will take a period of weeks, if not months, to determine the final cost in monetary damages and loss of life that resulted from the tropical systems that made landfall this season.
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