Colorado State University’s (CSU) July and August 2023 Atlantic hurricane season forecasts, calling for “above-average” activity, proved to be accurate as the season concluding tomorrow was above-normal, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) based on data from the National Hurricane Center.

There were 20 named storms in 2023, with seven reaching hurricane status while three reached major hurricane strength.

An average Atlantic hurricane season has 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes (e.g., Category 3, 4 or 5).

Three named storms, including one hurricane, made landfall in the continental United States this season, with Hurricane Idalia striking the Big Bend region of Florida as a Category 3 major hurricane on Aug. 30, the Triple-I noted.

Two tropical storms also made U.S. landfalls in 2023: Harold (Padre Island, Texas) on Aug. 22 and Ophelia (Emerald Isle, North Carolina) on Sept. 23.

“The record warm Atlantic, combined with a moderate/strong El Niño, led to an extremely challenging forecast setup this year, but CSU’s forecasts generally performed well despite these challenges,” said Triple-I non-resident scholar Phil Klotzbach, Ph.D., a senior research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at CSU and lead author of the institution’s Tropical Meteorology Project forecasts. “Named storms and named storm days were well above their long-term averages, while Accumulated Cyclone Energy (an integrated metric accounting for intensity and duration of storms) was somewhat above normal,” Klotzbach added.

“As the nation’s financial first responders, insurers helped their customers recover economically from the impacts of another damaging hurricane season in 2023,” said Sean Kevelighan, CEO, Triple-I. “Widespread damage incurred in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas from Hurricane Idalia, in addition to other named storms that impacted areas of Texas, the Mid-Atlantic and New England, highlighted the importance of being financially protected from catastrophic losses and that includes having adequate levels of property insurance and flood coverage,” Kevelighan added.

CSU’s other notable observations about the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season included:

  • The 20 named storms that formed in the Atlantic this season tied with 1933 for the fourth most on record, trailing 2020 (30 named storms), 2005 (28) and 2021 (21).
  • Hurricane Idalia made landfall with maximum winds of 125 miles per hour (mph), after briefly intensifying to Category 4 major hurricane strength (130 mph) in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico – the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the Big Bend region of Florida since 1896.
  • 13 named storms formed in the Atlantic from Aug. 20 through Sept. 28, the most on record during that timeframe, breaking the old record of 12 named storm formations set in 2020.
  • Hurricane Lee rapidly intensified from a Category 1 to a Category 5 major hurricane (160 mph) in just 24 hours in the open waters of the Caribbean in early September.
  • Tropical Storms Bret and Cindy formed in the tropical Atlantic (south of 23.5°N, east of 60°W) in June, the first time on record that two named storms formed in the tropical Atlantic in June.
  • Tammy became a hurricane on Oct. 20 – the latest calendar year hurricane on record in the tropical Atlantic.