NOAA predicts active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Sandy as seen from NOAA's GOES-13
Hurricane Sandy as seen from NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite on October 28, 2012.Credit:NOAA/NASA

From NOAA:

In its 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook issued today, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an active or extremely active season this year.

For the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA’s Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook says there is a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).

These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

“With the devastation of Sandy fresh in our minds, and another active season predicted, everyone at NOAA is committed to providing life-saving forecasts in the face of these storms and ensuring that Americans are prepared and ready ahead of time.” said Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., NOAA acting administrator. “As we saw first-hand with Sandy, it’s important to remember that tropical storm and hurricane impacts are not limited to the coastline. Strong winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes often threaten inland areas far from where the storm first makes landfall.”

Three climate factors that strongly control Atlantic hurricane activity are expected to come together to produce an active or extremely active 2013 hurricane season. These are:

  • A continuation of the atmospheric climate pattern, which includes a strong west African monsoon, that is responsible for the ongoing era of high activity for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995;
  • Warmer-than-average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea; and
  • El Niño is not expected to develop and suppress hurricane formation.

“This year, oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the Atlantic basin are expected to produce more and stronger hurricanes,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “These conditions include weaker wind shear, warmer Atlantic waters and conducive winds patterns coming from Africa.”

NOAA’s seasonal hurricane outlook is not a hurricane landfall forecast; it does not predict how many storms will hit land or where a storm will strike. Forecasts for individual storms and their impacts will be provided throughout the season by NOAA’s National Hurricane Center.

New for this hurricane season are improvements to forecast models, data gathering, and the National Hurricane Center communication procedure for post-tropical cyclones. In July, NOAA plans to bring online a new supercomputer that will run an upgraded Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) model that provides significantly enhanced depiction of storm structure and improved storm intensity forecast guidance.

Also this year, Doppler radar data will be transmitted in real time from NOAA’s Hurricane Hunter aircraft. This will help forecasters better analyze rapidly evolving storm conditions, and these data could further improve the HWRF model forecasts by 10 to 15 percent.

The National Weather Service has also made changes to allow for hurricane warnings to remain in effect, or to be newly issued, for storms like Sandy that have become post-tropical. This flexibility allows forecasters to provide a continuous flow of forecast and warning information for evolving or continuing threats.

“The start of hurricane season is a reminder that our families, businesses and communities need to be ready for the next big storm,” said Joe Nimmich, FEMA associate administrator for Response and Recovery. “Preparedness today can make a big difference down the line, so update your family emergency plan and make sure your emergency kit is stocked. Learn more about how you can prepare for hurricane season at

Next week, May 26 – June 1, is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. To help those living in hurricane-prone areas prepare, NOAA is offering hurricane preparedness tips, along with video and audio public service announcements in both English and Spanish, featuring NOAA hurricane experts and the FEMA administrator at

NOAA’s outlook for the Eastern Pacific basin is for a below-normal hurricane season and the Central Pacific basin is also expected to have a below-normal season. NOAA will issue an updated outlook for the Atlantic hurricane season in early August, just prior to the historical peak of the season.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.

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May 23, 2013 2:23 pm

Well, we should all be worried. After all, nobody’s EVER predicted an active hurricane season before and been wrong.

May 23, 2013 2:23 pm

“Warmer-than-average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea;”
The propagandists will be all over this. If there’s a 1950’s type hurricane on the east coast this summer the hot air generated from that side will be enough to power another hurricane. That we had the same conditions in the 1950’s won’t matter. Can’t wait (sarc)

Gunga Din
May 23, 2013 2:33 pm

This is a real question. When was the last time they didn’t predict an active hurricane season?

May 23, 2013 2:34 pm

Well they have been so accuriate in recent years, I am sure that they will be right again this year! (sarc)

May 23, 2013 2:34 pm

NOAA’s blab sounds impressive until you remember that NOAA has a tough time just measuring the temperature.

May 23, 2013 2:42 pm

Gunga Din says:
May 23, 2013 at 2:33 pm
This is a real question. When was the last time they didn’t predict an active hurricane season?

I’m kind of wondering that myself.

May 23, 2013 2:44 pm

New for this hurricane season are improvements to….
Which means it can’t be compared to anything in the past……….again

May 23, 2013 2:46 pm

I saw Joe Bastardi on TV the other night he also described why a more active Atlantic Hurricane season is predicted based on similar conditions in the 50’s.
I trust Joe more than NOAA

May 23, 2013 2:48 pm

Translation: Bend over, and with your head between your legs, kiss your a$$ goodbye”.
We are doomed. Again.

May 23, 2013 2:52 pm

They have to.. If they say its going to be a quiet year and many hurricane’s develop with huge property / life damage the media / public will be looking for blood.. But if they say alarm, alarm every year they are safe from any backlash..
Have they ever been stupid enough to predict a quiet season?

Tom Jones
May 23, 2013 2:53 pm

But, of course. If they predict an active season and it is, they’ll get more money. If it isn’t everyone will forget all about it. What’s to lose?

Gerry Parker
May 23, 2013 2:54 pm

“…conditions in the Atlantic basin are expected to produce more and stronger hurricanes”
More and stronger than what?

High Treason
May 23, 2013 3:00 pm

It would be interesting indeed if suddenly the hurricane season suddenly became inactive. The news is absurd as an announcement that a giant nuclear furnace(the sun) will be irradiating the planet tomorrow.

May 23, 2013 3:22 pm

So, how many 20 hour storms will they have to come up with this year to make the numbers work out?

May 23, 2013 3:39 pm

Reblogged this on CraigM350 and commented:
Mark Vogan & Weatherbell said the same a short while ago.

van Loon
May 23, 2013 3:42 pm

They are very brave people.

Louis Hooffstetter
May 23, 2013 3:44 pm

NOAA has zero credibility.
Believe what Dr. William Gray says.

May 23, 2013 3:48 pm

And for those who missed it, I recently presented the sea surface temperature anomaly data for the hurricane Main Development Region and for the Gulf of Mexico, the East Coast of the US, and the Caribbean Sea. Sea surface temperature are way below normal in the Gulf and below normal along the East Coast, but they’re warmer than normal in the Caribbean and Main Development Region. See the post here:

May 23, 2013 3:57 pm

3-6 major hurricanes….
good grief..that’s not a prediction…that’s a safe bet
any three year old could do that

May 23, 2013 3:58 pm

Since NOAA has taken to naming even the tiny tims that fizzle out in less than a day, it’s practically guaranteed their “named storms” prediction will be accurate. Everything else is a coin toss, though.

May 23, 2013 4:10 pm

Gunga Din, Jeff in Calgary, and others: the hurricane forecasts are available here:
I don’t know if they have an updated version, but in an Aug 2008 report on p.41 they show a table of past forecasts vs actuals. It looks like their actual numbers are inaccurate, but their forecasts do tend to go up and down in the right years.
On p.34 there is also a chart showing that major US-landfall hurricanes are much more frequent in periods of global cooling.

P@ Dolan
May 23, 2013 4:11 pm

@ Bob Tisdale:
Question: do you have the data for last year, and how would you characterize the surface temps of the Gulf of Mexico during the last Hurricane season? I had the dubious honor of being the Hurricane Preparedness Officer for the U. S. Naval Telecommunications Station in Roosevelt Roads, PR from ’98-’00. I live on the Chesapeake now, w/a sailboat on the water, & remain an inveterate wx watcher (as opposed to also following that whole “inconvenient” warming thing that I only WISH were true, since I really hate the cold) and last year, I thought we had an elevated number of named storms begin in the Gulf, and fewer off the Cape Verde Islands than usual, though the seasonal average was ordinary in total. Certainly nothing outside of variation we have seen before, but I’m guessing that the higher Gulf surface temps of this year applied last year as well. If so, might we not see more storms originate in the Gulf again, and possibly fewer due to lows off Africa? Is there any correlation between the two as there appears to be between ENSO and “suppression” (if that is the correct description) of hurricanes? Or am I completely out to sea here, & oh please shut up?
Just curious, & your post reminded me of my question at the end of the last season, & I thought you might have an idea. Tks—

Reg Nelson
May 23, 2013 4:12 pm

NOAA’s seasonal hurricane outlook is not a hurricane landfall forecast; it does not predict how many storms will hit land or where a storm will strike.
So are the going to compare this data to the pre-satellite era? Of course the numbers will be higher than in the past. You don’t see many pre-1960 news articles on Hurricanes that never reached land.

May 23, 2013 4:16 pm

We should have some visibility to activity as the MJO slides into the Atlantic side of the house shortly. It produced this while on the other side of the globe.

Bill H
May 23, 2013 5:18 pm

ENSO is going cold again ….. i wonder if they checked thier crystal ball again?
Given the wind shear and depth of the Polar Jet into the median jet i am gonna bet on a low number of storms and low grade of ones that do form… just an uneducated guess…

May 23, 2013 5:34 pm

Did they model a colder, relative to normal relations with lower latitudes, higher latitudes.
If you worked fro a commercial company and you wasted a high proportion of their income on nonsense you’d get sacked but public servants get promotions or another, more senior position. And yes it happens in Europe also. The one commonality of government/state is that you always get rewarded no matter how s**t you are because it’s tax payers money so that doesn’t count.

Ben Darren Hillicoss
May 23, 2013 5:48 pm

I predict:
0 to 5 major hurricaines
0 to 15 hurricaines
and 0 to 20 storms…
Bet I’m right
B Darren Hillicoss

May 23, 2013 6:04 pm
May 23, 2013 6:18 pm Evelyn Garriss has been very accurate and doesn’t believe in AGW. She has been on Jim Puplava’s newshour often.

May 23, 2013 7:08 pm

OMG all due to AGW

May 23, 2013 7:10 pm

Follow this one very very closely, me thinks this might end AGW sooner than we all think

Joseph Bastardi
May 23, 2013 7:10 pm

our ideas, issued MARCH 27th. At this time I have not changed the forecast.. Noaa very close to ours

Joseph Bastardi
May 23, 2013 7:13 pm

Note. the March 27th was to clients, it did not become public till the 29th. just want to make sure you can see the issuance date of the 28th for premium site.. Doesnt mean its right. Does mean that the methodology that I have developed using March 400 mb temps gave extra lead time on what seems to have developed, with NOAA weighing in, a consensus. Now lets see what reality brings. I have always tried to show my methodology in real time, rather than after the fact

May 23, 2013 7:54 pm

NOAA….”outlook is not a….forecast; it does not predict how many storms will hit land or where a storm will strike”. It also does not predict the dates or the magnitudes, that will be “predicted” by the National Hurricane Center with only minimum notice, and enough divergent spaghetti tract paths and 50% error bars for wind speed and rainfall, so that we will be able to declare high level of prediction….from hopefully one model… soon as we know which data is correct. More post-event predictions, based on SWAG science to keep a four month event media center open all year. In the bang-for-buck category, Joe B has got the feds beat.

Jason Joice MD
May 23, 2013 8:10 pm

I say there’s a 70% likelihood that they will name 3-4 of my farts if that’s what it will take for them to make their numbers.

May 23, 2013 8:48 pm

Uh oh, GOES-13 goes kaput
> Just as the 2013 hurricane season is about to begin, one of the U.S.’
> main weather satellites failed this week. The Geostationary
> Operational Environmental Satellite, also known as GOES-13,
> reportedly ceased to operate as of Tuesday, making it impossible
> to predict weather patterns on the East Coast.
They’re trying to activate GOES-14. If that doesn’t work, the east coast could be in trouble as far as hurricane forecasts are concerned.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
May 23, 2013 8:51 pm

It just doesn’t seem right to be talking about hurricanes without Dr. Ryan Maue chiming in.
Ryan Maue ‏
NOAA expert assessment here on NATL hurricane season: ACE range of 120-205% of normal is really aggressive.
10:34 AM – 23 May 13
Ryan Maue ‏
That puts the ACE top end at about 170-180, which would be top-10 season since 1970. ACE in 2012 was 132comment image
— linked to
10:36 AM – 23 May 13

May 23, 2013 9:57 pm

The Oklahoma tornado had winds of 200 miles an hour. The 1938 hurricane had wind gusts of 186 mph atop Blue Hills, south of Boston.
The Oklahoma tornado was over a mile wide. The 1938 hurricane was over a hundred. (The Blue Hills are over fifty miles from where the center of the 1938 hurricane was, racing north up the Connecticut River.)
Winds in Boston were a steady 73 mph in 1938, down at ground level at the airport, however buildings have been built since then that soar up to the altitude of the Blue Hills, (681 feet.) Also to the north and west of the city, fine houses have been built atop hills which had every pine snapped like a match-stick, by the 1938 hurricane.
Forgive me for sounding like an Alarmist, but people up the east coast have no idea what a force 3 hurricane can do. Irene was weak, and Sandy nothing but a big gale. Wake up. Study the 1938 hurricane, and Carol.
And don’t sit about expecting the government to take care of you. They spent more money on Hansen and Mann than on safe rooms for Oklahoma schools. NYC spent more money on diversity training and dieting than on building storm barriers for its subways. And New Orleans had lots of money allocated for its levees, but most was spent by politicians on “studies” and “committees,” (and on lawsuits with environmentalists that made lawyers rich,) and very little money made it to actual repairs of the actual levees. So the levees failed.
It is wiser to be as self-reliant as possible.
I actually think the guys at NOAA peek to see what Joe Bastardi has sweated to figure out, before saying what their computers haven’t figured out. However, even if that isn’t true, the simple fact a number of different sources suggest the “likelihood” of hurricanes up the east coast this year is higher, should make the pragmatic and prudent consider buying a flashlight and some powdered milk and canned food, (if not a generator,) and devoting a part of their brains to thinking how they could best handle three weeks without power or toilets that flush.
Not that a repeat of the 1938 hurricane will happen for another hundred years. After all, there are parts of Oklahoma with houses that have stood over a hundred years, untouched by a tornado. However, while hoping for the best may be your plan A, it helps to have a plan B besides an insurance policy. Some of those folk in Oklahoma had fine insurance policies, but likely would have traded those policies for a single safe room, as the winds began to howl.
I wrote more about this subject here at WUWT last summer:

May 23, 2013 10:55 pm

The change in Arctic atmospheric pressure some years ago does suggest a correlation
but how this may work is not clear.

Mario Lento
May 24, 2013 12:01 am

Isn’t it true that as the delta T from a cooling north hemisphere increases, we get more “weather”. So as we cool –watch out. Don’t forget the warming causes cooling meme… sarc…

Tim Beatty
May 24, 2013 12:04 am

It will be active simply as a result of Lee wind speeds when the storm turns north. Noth like addin a storms track speed to double the wind velocity on the side no one cares about.
Oh, and no El Nino means cooling causes Hurricanes?

May 24, 2013 12:26 am

Very consistent with the new climate regime. A negative PDO, perpetual La Nina, and Global Cooling(I really figured this out years ago). By the way, it’s also the reason for the dominance of mild winters here along the Gulf Coast since circa 1998.

May 24, 2013 5:12 am

I’m getting in before the ‘meeja’; uninformed state governors; Al Gore; Barak Obarmy etc…
‘This active hurricane season is due to climate change…’
So there. Yah boo sucks.

May 24, 2013 10:38 am

Gunga Din says:
May 23, 2013 at 2:33 pm
This is a real question. When was the last time they didn’t predict an active hurricane season?
If you predict an active season every year, sooner or later it will happen. A stopped clock is correct twice a day.

silent observer
May 24, 2013 11:53 am

More active doesn’t mean more US landfalls. Be careful not to let your opinion of NOAA and the need to ridicule blind you to the erroneous conclusion that the first equals the second. NOAA didn’t say it, but some of you are assuming it.

R. de Haan
May 24, 2013 1:39 pm
Radical Rodent
May 24, 2013 3:37 pm

“With the devastation of Sandy fresh in our minds… It makes you want to groan.
Sandy was far from unique (though its timing to coincide with a high spring tide and a northerly storm might be). A Cat 3 hurricane caused similar devastation in NYC in 1815, a Cat 4 in 1821, and a Cat 2 in 1893. Obviously, with a higher population density, there were far more people affected than during the earlier events; what is odd to note is that, though there is a history of these events, there seems to have been nothing done to defend against them. At least the British had to nous to erect the Thames barrier when the potential for damage was revealed by the 1960s floods (which were also the results of storm surges coinciding with high tides). Have they learned? Are there now plans to establish effective defences should it happen again? Somehow, I doubt it.
As others have pointed out, When was the last time they didn’t predict an active hurricane season?.
However, if they are wrong (again), I am sure that they will do what they did in the UK last year, when the forecast drought turned wet, and rejig the models so that it will predict – ooh, look! – it was going to be the quietest year for hurricanes. And so the beloved model prediction is proven correct in hindsight, yet again.

May 24, 2013 4:28 pm

Radical Rodent says: May 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm
“When was the last time they didn’t predict an active hurricane season?”

Just last year.
“NOAA predicts a near-normal 2012 Atlantic hurricane season”

May 25, 2013 8:59 am

Nick Stokes says:
May 24, 2013 at 4:28 pm
“NOAA predicts a near-normal 2012 Atlantic hurricane season”
It looks as the fall in the ACE index may continue for another couple of years before bouncing back after 2015.

Brian H
May 25, 2013 10:33 pm

Whew! NOAA’s -0.8 reliability quotient to the rescue!

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