The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) specialists have called the recently concluded 2023 hurricane season as one of the most tumultuous on record.
With a staggering tally of 20 named storms, including seven hurricanes, three of which reached the formidable status of major hurricanes, this season has drawn attention as a particularly intense period of weather activity, Dominica News Online reported.
The hurricane season officially ended on Thursday, November 30. Experts from NOAA released their assessment, highlighting the exceptional intensity and frequency of storm formations throughout the period.
The season’s 20 named storms surpassed the annual average significantly, despite the presence of the El Niño weather phenomenon, marking a remarkable occurrence in meteorological patterns. Traditionally, El Niño tends to subdue Atlantic storm activity, resulting in fewer named storms.
Matthew Rosencrans, the lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, highlighted the exceptional nature of the 2023 hurricane season within El Niño-influenced years, stating, “The Atlantic basin witnessed the highest number of named storms on record despite the influence of El Niño.”
“The exceptionally warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic acted as a potent counterforce to the typical impacts of El Niño,” he further explained.
Dominica narrowly avoided direct impact from any of the named storms this year, although it faced near misses from Bret and Philippe. The small eastern Caribbean island, previously affected by Typhoon Erika in 2015 and Hurricane Maria in 2017, has been actively engaged in enhancing its climate resilience. Collaborating with MMC Development Ltd., a steadfast infrastructure development partner, Dominica has been focused on constructing more robust homes and public facilities capable of withstanding intense rainfall and adverse weather conditions.
As El Niño is projected to conclude next year and global temperatures continue to rise, some forecasters are cautioning about the “high potential” for an even more active hurricane season in 2024.
Notwithstanding the above-average storm activity in 2023, the season remarkably resulted in a notably low death toll.
Unofficially, a collective loss of 12 lives was associated with three distinct storms. Hurricane Franklin was directly responsible for two fatalities in the Dominican Republic, while in the United States, Hurricane Lee caused three deaths.
Moreover, Hurricane Idalia tragically led to seven direct fatalities and three indirect casualties in the United States.
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