Here’s what SC may face from hurricane season 2023 and El Niño, new NOAA forecast shows

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South Carolina will likely experience a relatively normal hurricane season this year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

According to a Thursday announcement, NOAA predicts between 12 and 17 storms for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season.

Last year the Atlantic hurricane season had 14 named storms, according to NOAA. The 2022 season included Hurricane Ian, which, after plowing through Florida, landed around Georgetown, S.C. in September with sustained winds of 85 mph, caused coastal flood damage and destroyed several large piers near Myrtle Beach.

Hurricane prediction breakdown

During the 2023 hurricane season, which starts June 1 and lasts through Nov. 30, the forecast calls for 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.

NOAA is forecasting with 70% confidence of 12 to 17 total named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher. And of those, five to nine could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher. There could also be one to four major hurricanes between Category 3 and 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher.

NOAA calls for a near-normal hurricane season for 2023, with 12 to 17 named storms.
NOAA calls for a near-normal hurricane season for 2023, with 12 to 17 named storms.

El Niño impact

The upcoming Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be less active than recent years, in part because of the likely arrival of El Niño.

NOAA predicts a high potential of El Niño developing this summer, which can suppress Atlantic hurricane activity. However, El Niño’s possible influence could be offset by favorable conditions local to the tropical Atlantic Basin.

Officials warn that people should not drop their guard because of the likelihood of a less active hurricane season this year.

“As we saw with Hurricane Ian, it only takes one hurricane to cause widespread devastation and upend lives,” FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswel said in a Thursday press release. “So regardless of the number of storms predicted this season, it is critical that everyone understand their risk and heed the warnings of state and local officials. Whether you live on the coast or further inland, hurricanes can cause serious impacts to everybody in their path.”