The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season was the most destructive and active season on record. In the year of 2023, the season produced 30 named tropical or subtropical storms, 20 hurricanes and 8 major hurricanes, mainly from the cause of a late forming La Niña just 2 months prior to the start of the season. It broke several records, including most active season (in terms of accumulated cylone energy), most hurricanes, major hurricanes and named storms in a single season, and abnormal formations. As usual, an Atlantic hurricane season offically begins on June 1 and continues till November 30. However, this season began on May 2, 2023, producing an unnamed subtropical storm, (identifed as a storm during re-analysis in 2024), and ending late on December 19, 2023 with the dissipation of Subtropcial Storm Theta. The season battled through with a record-breaking 8 major hurricanes, 4 of which peaking at Category 5 hurricanes on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale Out of the four, Hurricane Iron was the largest, strongest, and longest lived hurricane of the year, that topped off the charts at 200 mph (325 km/h), 867 mbar(hPa), and lived for 21.5 days.
Out of any season since records began in 1851, the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season is by far the most significant. The National Hurricane Center had stated that the amount of activity in the season had a striking occurrence from the result of a large shift of climate change. As a result of a low hurricane season the year before, the season had called for large ranges of storms and hurricanes, calculating 17-23 named storms, 8-13 hurricanes, and 2-6 major hurricanes in the pre- season outlooks. However, after the dissipation of Hurricane Deena, climatologists began monitoring a large shift in warmer sea surface temperatures and lesser wind shear. Furthermore, a strong, late forming La Niña took over its complete form in mid-August, (began its formation in March), meaning that the effects of La Niña were going to be intense and considerable.
Despite the large number of storms making landfall to the United States, no hurricanes made landfall as a major hurricane.
Predictions of tropical activity in the 2023 season
† Most recent of several such occurrences. (See all)
* June–November only
In advance of, and during, each hurricane season, several forecasts of hurricane activity are issued by national meteorological services, scientific agencies, and noted hurricane experts. These include forecasters from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s National Hurricane and Climate Prediction Center's, Philip J. Klotzbach, William M. Gray and their associates at Colorado State University (CSU), Tropical Storm Risk, and the United Kingdom's Met Office. The forecasts include weekly and monthly changes in significant factors that help determine the number of tropical storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes within a particular year. As stated by NOAA and CSU, an average Atlantic hurricane season between 1981 and 2010 contains roughly 12 tropical storms, six hurricanes, three major hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Index of 66-103 units. NOAA typically categorizes a season as either above-average, average, of below-average based on the cumulative ACE Index; however, the number of tropical storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes within a hurricane season is considered occasionally as well.
Pre- season forecasts
On December 7, 2022, Tropical Storm Risk (TSR), a public consortium consisting of experts on insurance, risk management, and seasonal climate forecasting at University College London, issued an extended-ranged forecast of a hyperactive (above-average) hurricane season.
Mid- season forecasts
The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season offically began on June 1, however during post-anaylsis, the National Hurricane Center reissued that an area of disturbed weather had formed into a subtropical storm on May 2. To add on, the unnamed storm became the earliest storm since Tropical Storm Alberto of 2012, and the only storm to form until July 15. The reason to its early formation was from warm ocean currents that created extraordinary thunderstorm activity off Eastern United States for more than 3 weeks prior to the storms formation.
The month of June was surprisingly quiet with no storms. The reason to this was an after effect of El Niño that began its slow transition into La Niña.
After a long period of low activity in June, a tropical depression forms in the Caribbean Sea on July 15. From there, two additional depressions would form in the two weeks, following. Hurricane Alec and Tropical Storm Bessie were two of the three systems in July that caused the most damage. Alec struck Nicaragua as a Category 1 hurricane, producing 6 mudslides that effected 11 communities and killed 7. Bessie was a weak tropical storm that brought damaging winds and torrential rains to the Bahamas and western Florida. 2 cruise ships and 7 industrial fishing boats had to be stopped and stranded for two days until the storm had passed. One member of a fishing boat died, while a man in West Palm Beach drowned from high surf. 1.5 million dollars added up in damages and 8 people were killed during this time. Tropical Depression Three formed on late July 31 and would soon become Hurricane Chester in the next week coming.
An upper level trough and a decaying cold front formed a few hundred miles northwest of Bermuda on May 1. The system moved quickly south producing tropical storm force winds near 45 mph and a low pressure area. Later the next day at 1800 UTC, the system became a subtropical storm with winds near 50 mph. The unnamed storm started to gain speed and strength, as it began moving northeastward to Nova Scotia. Higher levels of upper level winds made the storm instensify, with peak winds at 65 mph on May 3. On May 4, a drop in thunderstorms and loss of convection made the system weaken slightly before its impact on Nova Scotia. Soon afterwards on late May 4 to May 5, the system made impact to the Maritime provinces. An estimated 4.2 inches (106.68 mm) of rainfall was recorded in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Several power outages occurred across Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, 4 people died from major flooding in Cape Breton Island, and 1 critically injured when a tree fell on top of its car. Luckily, only C$81,000 ($75,800 USD 2014) were reported in damages. The storm unsuccessfully maintained its strength and dramatic loss of wind shear made the system post tropical on May 5 at 0600 UTC. It was finally absorbed by a larger low pressure system later on May 5.
A tropical wave moved off the west coast of Africa on July 8 and began heading west. On July 15, NHC began monitoring the system, stating that convection and environmental conditions are continuing to make the wave favorable for additional development. On July 17 at 0000 UTC, the system formed into Tropical Depression One. Many hours later, dry air and wind shear from the Saharan Air Layer decreased, upgrading the system to Tropical Storm Alec. Alec moved steadily westward as a result of a diminshing low pressure system somewhat ahead of Alec. Alec absorbed most of the low pressure system and had gained further strength. On July 20th at 0000 UTC, dry air had decreased, allowing Alec to strengthen into a hurricane. However, later on July 20th, a hurricane aircraft reported that the cyclone's closed cirrculation had subsided from coming close to land. Thus, Alec had weaken into a tropical storm after making landfall to Nicaragua. Subsequent from the torrential rainfalls and flash flooding that the system produced on land, Alec's cirrculation neared dissipation. On July 21, Alec became post tropical and dissipated inland Central America.
During Alec's existence, more than 120,000 people were evacutaed from their homes, which were later destroyed from strong currents. Mudslides destroyed an additional 20,000 home. 7 people were killed from the flash flooding in Puerto Cabazas and $1.5 million 2023 USD was reported in damages.
On July 19, a tropical low formed in The Bahamas. Over time, the system began showing signs of intensification as it moves further north from the island nation. On July 20, the storm upgrades into a tropical storm and was assigned the name "Bessie". The storm reaches its peak intensity on July 20 at 11:00 UTC, with wind speeds of 40 mph (65 km/h). The next day on July 21, Bessie weakens into a tropical low as it moves northeast into colder waters.
A tropical wave originated from Western Africa on July 31. The next day, it intensifies into a tropical storm south of Cape Verde, and was given the name "Chester". Chester continues to move west, intensifying into a Category 1 hurricane, with a tropical disturbance following behind it, which will soon become Tropical Storm Deena. As Chester continues to move west, and Deena moves northwest, the storm intensifies into a Category 3 hurricane. On August 3, it rapidly intensifies into a Category 4 hurricane. Chester continues to slowly intensify before on August 4 at 10:00 UTC, the storm reaches Category 5 intensity, with wind speeds of 160 mph (260 km/h), right before approaching the Lesser Antilles. The storm crossed Antigua and Barbuda as a Category 4 storm shortly after, causing severe damage and several deaths. On August 5, the storm passed over Puerto Rico, which causes the weakening of the storm shortly after. Chester brushes over the Greater Antilles islands, before entering the Gulf of Mexico, and making a hard northern turn, putting Texas on its path. On August 10, Chester made landfall in Galveston as a Category 1 hurricane, which prompts severe flooding, widespread blackout, and causing $3.8 billion in damage.
While Tropical Storm Chester began to strengthen on August 1, an additional tropical wave was being monitored on the heels of the storm. The proximity of the developing tropical wave and Tropical Storm Chester resulted in a slight Fujiwara interaction. Limited orbit between the systems was recorded, except for the wave beginning to turn northwestward. Later on August 2, a weakness in a ridge was missed by Chester causing the tropical wave to form directly into Tropical Depression Four. Due to the proximity of a strong hurricane, the depression nearly became non-existant.
A fast moving trough spawned a non-tropical area of low pressure of the coast of New Orleans, Louisiana on August 13. The system moved slightly southward, showing more organization and enhancement in thunderstorms. Early the next morning, the system experienced a closed cirrculation, then redeeming the name, Tropical Depression Five.
On late August 14, a non-tropical area of low pressure formed near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In the hours continued, the low began showing signs of organization and a closed circulation was being monitored. On August 15 at 1800 UTC, the NHC issued the first advisories for Tropical Depression Six. The system moved steadily northeastward, entering a warmer environment. Surface temperatures of the Gulf Stream Current made the system upgrade to Tropical Storm Fredine. On August 16 at 0600 UTC, NHC issued its archive advisory, stating that the system would turn northward and making landfall to Long Island, New York. However the system experienced a change in windspeed, and a fast moving frontal low interacted with Fredine. At that time Fredine was stronger. It then absorbed the frontal low gaining additional windspeed. Thus a change in direction. On August 17, Fredine entered cooler waters losing strength. The system then turned extratropical later that night. The system would continue moving east at a fast pace soon afftecing Ireland before dissipation. During Fredine's time of existence, no fatalities or damages were reported.
A tropical wave off the Cape Verde Islands began its slow formation on late August 20. Later during the week, NHC began issuing advisories for a small tropical depression 1000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. The disturbance was upgraded to Tropical Storm Grant on August 24. The system began gathering more steam and strength, however the storm had started to experience disorganization, and the tropical storm had split into two separate storms. This resulting in Grant to downgrade to a depression. However, wind shear had decreased and Grant intensified back into a tropical storm one and half days later. The amount of wind shear was brought down through Grant's path and the storm intensified into a Category 1 hurricane for 8 hours. Grant would eventually become a Category 2 hurricane and make landfall to Turks and Caicos. Dramatic storm surge and strong winds were brought to areas surrounding Grant's path. However, in the early hours of August 29th, Hurricane Grant had made landfall to Florida as a Category 1 hurricane. The storm would continue to move inland as a tropical storm and bring localized flooding to the southwestern states, Georgia and South Carolina in particular. Grant would loose strength and upper level winds brought the system to a depression over Kentucky. The system became post-tropical and totally dissipated in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
A strong tropical wave formed off the coast of West Africa on August 28. The hurricane broke several records. Iron achieved the second highest ACE rating of 81.0, just shy of Hurricane Ioke, the easternmost active and landfalling hurricane out of any in the Atlantic, northernmost forming major hurricane, lowest pressure worldwide, one of the few hurricanes to make landfall to Europe, and the only hurricane to make landfall to France.
Non-tropical area of low had formed in the Gulf of Mexico, eventually organizing into Tropical Storm Kenny. Before making landfall in Louisiana, it had become a Category 1 Hurricane, peaking at 80 mph(130 km/h). It weakened and did not become a hurricane again. It weakened as it took a northeast path, officially dissipating near Sweden.
As the remnants of Hurricane Kenny continued northeastward to the British Isles, a frontal low began to develop on September 12. The low was soon encountered by the remnants of Hurricane Iron as Iron began regenerating into a subtropical cyclone, west-southwest of the Azores. This activity began to give the developing system favorable conditions for further development. On September 14, NHC started placing advisories for Subtropical Depression Thirteen, that would soon generate into a storm by the next morning. On September 15, the depression generated into a subtropical storm, giving it the name "Mike". However, later that night, Mike began to experience disorganization in its center, there after making the system a tropical storm.
A strong tropical wave merged from the coast of West Africa on late September 23. The next day, the wave soon became better organized and an air force reconnaissance aircraft investigated the wave, reporting that a closed cirrculation and low, vertical wind shear were defined. The wave was upgraded to Tropical Depression Fifteen at 1200 UTC on September 25 to the southeast of the Cape Verde Islands. The tropical depression quickly became better organized and was upgraded to Tropical Storm Owen at 1800 UTC. According to satellite imagery, forecasters predicted that Owen would steadily move westward and would be become a hurricane in less than 2 days. The tropical storm strengthen from an increase of low dry air on September 26 at 1200 UTC. With sustained winds of 60 mph (95 km/h), Owen entered an unsettling enviroment, causing it to meader around the Cape Verde Islands. 6 hours later, Owen dropped in windspeed and became a low-end tropical storm. However, low wind shear was monitored from the northeast of the system, and the tropical storm strengthened and became better organized. The tropical storm started to experience deep convection, when it instensified into a Category 1 hurricane. Explosive intensification soon took place in Owen's center and the hurricane dropped 38 hPa (1.12 inHg) in just 72 hours. Further instenifying was steady and Owen remained a Category 4 hurricane, at a consistant pace. A warmer environment contributed to Owen having a strong potential to become Category 5 hurricane status. However, on October 1st, the chances were slim due to unbalanced convection currents west of the hurricane. Nevertheless, Owen peaked at its intensity of 155 mph (250 km/h), 922 hPa (27.23 inHg) on October 1st at 1800 UTC. The powerful hurricane remained Category 4 status for a total of 120 hours.
Widespread destruction was reported throughout the Cape Verde Islands with mininal damages. The United States East Coast was struck with strong winds and high surf. 1 person died on the Outer Banks, Carolina. Only $10 million USD was totaled in damages.
A low pressure system forms in the Atlantic Ocean and becomes a tropical depression on October 3. It continues to strengthen making no threat to land. In post analysis, meteorologists found that the remnants of Tyrone were expected to make landfall to Greenland. This would have been one out the two occurences that year.
In the morning hours of October 15, NHC began observing an extremely rare frontal low forming of the coast of France, in the Bay of Biscay. Later in the day, advisories were soon issued for a very small depression that would soon make minor impact on the British Isles. This began making new records for highest latitude for a storm to form on.
Degenerated into a remnant low before entering the Gulf of Mexico. The remnants later split into trough that spawned a new area of low pressure which moved rapidly northeast and developed into a nor'easter.
An outflow boundary formed a few hundred miles south of Louisiana. The low moved south then looped before forming into a tropical depression. The track of the system was very different from those that formed in the Gulf of Mexico. The depression was expected to loop one more time before dissipating over Louisiana. However, a ridge associated with a strong low pressure caused the system to slow and move east then northeastward. Losing characteristics from being absorbed by the ridge, the system dissipated in the middle of the Gulf and the strengthening system would move inland causing major flooding to the Mid United States and the Great Lakes Region.
A far north upper-level low and a surface low pressure system formed on December 9 as a subtropical cyclone with sustained winds of 70 mph, receiving the name Theta. The system was very rare, as it is the only system to form as a high-end tropical or subtropical cyclone at a high latitude and it was also a very late forming system, latest since Tropical Storm Zeta of 2005. The system moved east away from the Maritime provinces at a fast moving pace. Theta remained limited from changing wind speeds, causing high storm surge in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Only one person was injured during this time on December 10. Record breaking snowfall and rainfall amounts were archived throughout December 9-12. At least 500 mm of rain was recorded in St. John's, Newfoundland, and 2.6 m of snow fell in areas, such as Sydney, Nova Scotia, surrounding Theta's starting path. On December 11, Theta began to move northward, and started to loose steam. On December 13, the system became extratropical and still remained on its journey north. The remnants of Theta were felt throughout southwestern Greenland, Ireland, and The Netherlands. Only C$2 million worth of damages and no deaths were recorded and season had finally came to a finishing relief.
Storm names and retirement
The following names were used to name storms that reached tropical or subtropical storm intensity in the North Atlantic Ocean during 2023. This list was used for the first time since the original name lists were replaced. This name list had all its names, along with 8 Greek Alphabet names used during the season.
Due to the amount of damages, deaths and/or rare activity caused, the names "Chester", "Iron", "Jemima", "Owen", "Sonya", and "Weston" were removed from List 4 of the rotating cyclones lists. The names were replaced with Cameron, Ignatius, Jordon, Namina, Oden, Shannon, and Wilson. However, the names Grant and Nina, were not retired. Despite causing a lot of damage to the Greater Antilles and Central America, the two storms formed in or around the Caribbean Sea, which had a remarkable increase in activity over a 10 year period. This resulting in no retirement.
On the names list below, names in bold represent that the names that were replaced
Hurricanes Beta and Zeta caused a lot of damage, caused some deaths, and formed at a high hurricane strength at a certain time. Unfortuately, they cannot be retired or replaced by another name since they are Greek Alphabet names and there is lack of replacement.
This is a table of the storms and their effects in the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season. This table includes the storm's names, duration, peak intensity, Areas affected (bold indicates made landfall in that region at least once), damages, and death totals. Deaths in parentheses are additional and indirect (an example of an indirect death would be a traffic accident), but are still storm-related. Damage and deaths include totals while the storm was extratropical, a wave or a low. All of the damage figures are in 2023 USD (the listed damage figure is in millions).