2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Reflecting on Another Active Year

The 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season wraps up today, concluding another active year. This year’s storms left a mark on communities, emphasizing the need for disaster readiness year-round.

During the 2023 hurricane season, June 1 through November 30, the Atlantic saw 20 named storms. Of those, seven (7) became hurricanes, with three (3) intensifying into major hurricanes. This year’s season exceeded the 14 named storms from 2022’s average season. After the high levels of activity experienced, 2023 is now listed as the fourth most active hurricane season on record.

On May 25, 2023, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) forecast predicted a 40% chance for a near normal season and a 30% chance for an above-normal hurricane season. The prediction also included an outlook for a total of 12-17 named storms, of which 5-9 would be hurricanes. This initial outlook set the stage for heightened awareness and preparations across coastal regions.

As the months unfolded, NOAA updated their forecast on August 10, increasing the prediction to an above-normal season chance of 60%. Additionally, NOAA increased the predicted number of storms to a total of 14 -21 named storms, including 6-11 hurricanes.

The Major Hurricanes of the Season

The first major storm of the season, Hurricane Franklin, came in late August. This storm affected the Greater Antilles, Bermuda, and the Dominican Republic with tropical storm force winds and heavy rainfall. After leaving the Dominican Republic, Franklin reached its peak intensity as a category 4 storm before slowly weakening.

Not long after Franklin, Hurricane Idalia made its appearance as the second major storm of the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season. As a category 3 storm, Idalia made landfall on August 30 in northern Florida, causing storm surge and intense rainfall in the region,  reaching “billion-dollar disaster” status. The effects were felt in Florida’s Big Bend region and as far south as the Tampa area. According to the National Hurricane Center, Idalia was the first major storm to hit the Big Bend region since 1950.

The last major storm of the season, Hurricane Lee, formed in early September, quickly becoming a category 5 storm. With winds increasing by 85 mph in 24 hours, Lee broke records as the third-fastest Atlantic storm intensification on record. After fluctuating in strength for several days, Lee made landfall on September 16 in Nova Scotia at the U.S. and Canada border. The storm impacted the entire Atlantic coast, causing rip currents, power outages, and intense winds.

Recovering and Building Resilience is a Whole Community Effort

Community resilience following a disaster is a testament to the strength and determination of its members. When neighbors come together to rebuild, they restore physical structures while also fostering a sense of unity and support that strengthens a communities’ ability to withstand future challenges.

By pooling resources, sharing knowledge, and supporting one another, communities impacted by the 2023 hurricane season have built back stronger, creating a foundation of resilience that empowers them to face future disasters confidently, better prepared.

IEM’s mission is to build a safe, secure, and resilient world. We are committed to assisting communities prepare for, mitigate against, respond to, and recover from hurricanes and other hazards. Visit our website to learn more about IEM’s capabilities to strengthen your community’s resilience.