Private insurance companies are abandoning the state of Florida, and the state’s “last resort” Citizens Property Insurance Corp., now its largest insurer, stands a one-in-four chance its reserves could be completely wiped out by one storm this year. Unfortunately, the rest of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season could be more active than forecasters predicted three months ago due to the hot-tub-like water providing ample potential energy for storms.
On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration updated its predictions and now says the 2023 season has a 65% chance of seeing an above-normal amount of hurricane activity (up from its 30% prediction in May). While the Pacific Ocean’s El Niño cycle usually disrupts Atlantic hurricanes, record-breaking sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic are offsetting that effect. The new NOAA forecast now predicts six to 11 hurricanes developing from between 14 to 21 named storms.
While we can’t know for certain when or where storms will develop, “there’s certainly enough fuel, the fuel being the very warm sea surface temperatures and we’re getting towards the climatological peak in the beginning of September, when most hurricanes form, ” MWS meteorologist Jeff Lutz told the Texas Tribune. (Updated NOAA forecast: NPR, Axios, ABC, Wall Street Journal $, Inside Climate News, Washington Post $, AP, NBC, CNBC, Vox, Gizmodo, NBC, Texas Tribune; Florida insurance woes: Bloomberg $; Climate Signals background: Hurricanes, Sea surface temperature increase)