COLUMBIA, South Carolina — As South Carolina prepares for the upcoming hurricane season, the state finds itself on alert even before the official start on June 1.
One factor is the presence of warm ocean waters along the South Carolina coast. Warm sea surface temperatures can provide the energy necessary for tropical systems to form and strengthen.
An additional factor to consider is climate patterns. We are still in a neutral phase, but NOAA has predicted a 62% chance that El Nino will develop this summer. In the off-season, these patterns can change atmospheric and oceanic conditions in a way that facilitates the development of tropical storms or hurricanes.
Our current climate patterns also influenced NOAA's recent prediction of a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season in 2023. NOAA meteorologists take into account factors such as sea surface temperatures, wind patterns, and the presence of climate patterns like El Nino or La Nina.
A near-normal hurricane season would mean we could expect a total of 12 to 17 named storms, including five to nine hurricanes, with one to four of them potentially becoming major hurricanes.
While a near-normal season may seem less concerning, it's important not to become complacent. Even during a below-average season, a single storm can have a significant impact. We must remain prepared and take proactive measures to protect ourselves and our communities.