PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a 40% chance of above-average Atlantic Ocean temperatures and a near-normal hurricane season in 2023. Of the five to nine hurricanes expected to hit the Eastern states this season, NOAA forecasts that as many as four of these storms will become major hurricanes with 111-mph winds or stronger.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. During this time, the region is expected to see a total of 12 to 17 named storms. For a storm to receive a name, its winds must reach 39 mph or greater.

Atlantic tropical cyclone names provided by the World Meteorological Organization for 2023:

Hurricane names for the 2023 season. If a cyclone is especially severe, its name is retired and a new name is added to the list. (NOAA)

NOAA also predicts a 30% chance of an above-normal season and a 30% chance of a below-normal season. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo stated in a press release that new investments into NOAA’s equipment will allow for more accurate hurricane forecasts this year.

“Thanks to the Commerce Department and NOAA’s critical investments this year in scientific and technological advancements in hurricane modeling, NOAA will be able to deliver even more accurate forecasts, helping ensure communities have the information they need to prepare for and respond to the destructive economic and ecological impacts of Atlantic hurricanes,” Raimondo said.

Fewer Atlantic hurricanes are expected in 2023 compared to recent years due to conflicting weather conditions. Warmer-than-average ocean temperatures in the Atlantic and higher potential for an above-normal West African monsoon are in this year’s forecast. These factors typically produce longer hurricane seasons with more powerful storms. However, NOAA also predicts a high chance of an El Niño pattern forming in the Pacific this summer, which is known to calm hurricane season in the Atlantic.

“After three hurricane seasons with La Nina present, NOAA scientists predict a high potential for El Nino to develop this summer, which can suppress Atlantic hurricane activity,” NOAA predicts. “El Nino’s potential influence on storm development could be offset by favorable conditions local to the tropical Atlantic Basin.”