Peak Atlantic hurricane season is here, what's next?

AUSTIN (KXAN) — September 10 marked the statistical peak of Atlantic Hurricane season. After this date, climatologically, begins a gradual decline in tropical activity in the Atlantic.

Tropical climatology
Tropical climatology

Season so far…

It’s been a busy first half of the season in the Atlantic. Including an unnamed storm that was posthumously categorized as a subtropical storm, we’re now up to 14 named storms.

2023 Atlantic tropical system names used so far
2023 Atlantic tropical system names used so far

Of those 14 named storms, we’ve had 4 hurricanes, Don, Franklin, Idalia and Lee. Of those hurricanes, all of them except Don have become Major (Category 3+) hurricanes.

As of this writing, Margot is expected to become our next hurricane.

Two of the 14 named storms have made landfall in the United States. Tropical Storm Harold brought beneficial rain to South Texas followed by Hurricane Idalia, which brought damaging winds, devastating storm surge and heavy rains to the Big Bend of Florida.

This year’s hurricane season comes on the backdrop of an increasingly strong El Niño developing in the eastern Pacific, while at the same time much of the North Atlantic has been much warmer than normal.

Latest Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast

NOAA’s August Tropical Outlook predicted 14-21 named storms, and we’re already on the low end of that range (14).

NOAA's Atlantic Hurricane Forecast (August update)
NOAA’s Atlantic Hurricane Forecast (August update)

By the end of the season NOAA expects up to 21 named storms, 6-11 hurricanes and up to five of them Major.

Of course, all it takes is one bad storm to make landfall for it to be a memorable season for all the wrong reasons. With the landfall of Idalia and the rapid intensification of Hurricane Lee to (for a time) Category 5 strength, this is already a memorable season.

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