Today, the Atlantic hurricane season is finally over. Even though it was an El Nino year, 2023 turned out to be tied for the fourth most active year in terms of the number of named storms.

As the 2023 hurricane season concludes, let’s take a straightforward look at two tropical cyclones that defined this year in the Atlantic – Hurricane Idalia and Tropical Storm Ophelia.

Hurricane Idalia: A Category 4 Force

The formation of Idalia from a broad low pressure system in the Caribbean lead to a lot of forecast uncertainty of where Idalia was going to go. However once it formed, the National Hurricane Center forecasters predicted its rapid intensification is it moved into the Gulf of Mexico and along the western coast of Florida. Forecasters faced challenges predicting its exact path, but timely warnings helped communities prepare and evacuate, minimizing potential damage in the Florida Big Bend area. Overall total damage estimates from Hurricane Idalia are in the billions based on information from Moody’s Analytics.

Tropical Storm Ophelia: Do you remember?

Do you remember Tropical Storm Ophelia? It was a short lived tropical system that did not garner as much attention but still had significant impacts along the East Coast. A lot of the tropical cyclones in 2023 were similar to Ophelia in that they were fairly week and often short lived. Only 7 of the 20 named tropical cyclones in 2023 reached hurricane strength. Despite the fact that Ophelia was ‘only’ a tropical storm, it still caused an estimated 450 million in damages (Aon reinsurer).

Takeaways and Looking Forward

Looking ahead, the lessons learned from the 2023 season will contribute to improving hurricane forecasting and response efforts. Collaboration between meteorologists, researchers, and communities is crucial in building resilience against future storms and will now be the focus during the offseason.

As we close the 2023 hurricane season, staying vigilant and proactive is key. Together, we can adapt and strengthen our resilience to face the challenges nature throws our way.