© 2023 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
WUSF is part of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network, which provides up-to-the minute weather and news reports during severe weather events on radio, online and on social media for 13 Florida Public Media stations. It’s available on WUSF 89.7 FM, online at WUSFNews.org and through the free Florida Storms app, which provides geotargeted live forecasts, information about evacuation routes and shelters, and live local radio streams.

Sarasota's Climate Adaptation Center predicts 14 named storms for 2023 hurricane season

 Hundreds of homes in the city of North Port in Sarasota County were impacted by flooding in the wake of Hurricane Ian.
City of North Port
The CAC says inland flooding such as last year's flooding in the city of North Port in Sarasota County will become more likely as hurricanes grow stronger and move more slowly.

The center says seven of the predicted 14 named storms will reach hurricane status with two or three major hurricanes making for a normal to slightly above normal season.

Sarasota's Climate Adaptation Center is forecasting 14 named storms for the 2023 hurricane season.

The center says seven of the predicted 14 named storms will reach hurricane status with two or three major hurricanes — that is, Category 3 or higher. The predictions means this season is expected to be normal or slightly busier.

Bob Bunting, CEO of the Climate Adaptation Center, says many factors contribute to forecasting hurricanes.

One of the predictors of potential storms is water temperature in the Gulf of Mexico.

"There's a current out there called the loop current and it’s already close to 80 degrees Fahrenheit,” Bunting said.

“Hurricanes form when waters are 76 or more so we're already at 80 and it’s just the beginning of April and, you know, the Gulf is going to get a lot warmer."

And while warm water is still a concern, Bunting says another predictor is more favorable when it comes to limiting the strength of hurricanes.

Most forecast models show weak El Niño conditions as the 2023 season progresses, meaning wind shear would impact a hurricane’s potential power.

“A developing El Niño especially could help tamp down hurricane formation during the peak months of August through October,” Bunting said.

But Bunting says all Floridians should have a hurricane plan.

If a storm should form in the south-central Gulf this year, it could intensify quickly and become a major hurricane just one or two days before making landfall, he said.

"Hurricane Ian grew from a weak tropical storm to a 150-mph sustained wind monster hurricane in less than 48 hours,” Bunting said.

“Everyone should know where they're going this year within the next 30 days and if you do, we're going to save lives in the event that we have a Category 2 or higher storm."

Bunting also says Florida will experience additional impacts due to hurricanes that are stronger and slower moving.

"We will experience hurricane conditions further inland away from the shoreline,” he said. “The shorelines will get the storm surge, the inland areas a few days later will get inland flooding and hurricane force winds as these storms slowly move in."

The Atlantic hurricane season officially starts June 1.

The busiest part of the season for the Atlantic Basin typically begins in August.

As a reporter, my goal is to tell a story that moves you in some way. To me, the best way to do that begins with listening. Talking to people about their lives and the issues they care about is my favorite part of the job.