Researchers at the University of Arizona, whose computer model has since 2014 accurately predicted hurricane activity, are expecting a very active hurricane season in 2023, after two years of relative calm. Of nine hurricanes forecast for the period between June and November, five are expected to be “major.”
Forecasters are predicting activity similar to the 2017 hurricane season, which saw Maria, Harvey, and Irma make landfall to devastating effect. Though fewer hurricanes overall are expected to make landfall this year, the number of major hurricanes like Maria is expected to be roughly the same.
Major hurricanes refer to those classified as Category 3 and above, with wind speeds up to 150 miles per hour. The average number of major hurricanes per year is two.
A big contributor to a more active hurricane season is hotter ocean temperatures and rising sea levels, according to Xubin Zeng, a researcher at the University of Arizona who leads the forecasts each year.