ROLL OF THE DICE? There were 17 storms in 2022, as researchers predicted. They’re not anticipating the 2023 hurricane season to be as active. PHOTO COURTESY OF SOUTHEASTFLORIDACLIMATECOMPACT.ORG

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Climate researchers at North Carolina State University predict the upcoming hurricane season could produce more than a dozen storms.

They estimate there will be 11 to 15 named storms in the Atlantic basin, which covers the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, according to their 2023 Atlantic hurricane season prediction models.

There were 17 storms in 2022, just as NC state researchers predicted last year, according to the hurricane database from the North Carolina State Climate Office. But this year, they’re not expecting the hurricane season to be as active.

“The number of named storms predicted is at the higher end of the long- term averages, but at the lower end of more recent 30-year averages," according to Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at NC State.

The long-term (from 1951 to 2022) average of named storms is 11, and the more recent average (from 1991 to 2020) is 14. Of the predicted storms for this year, six to eight may grow strong enough to become hurricanes, and two to three could become major hurricanes, researchers explained

The researchers said their data findings also indicate that there’s a chance of three to five named storms forming in the Gulf of Mexico, with one to three becoming hurricanes, and up to one becoming a major hurricane.