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The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended on November 30, having begun on June 1. This season was particularly active in terms of the number of storms, with a total of 19 named storms, seven of which became hurricanes and three of which were major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger storms).
The National Hurricane Center also reported one unnamed storm, a tropical depression, and a potential tropical cyclone. A preliminary review of the 2023 Atlantic storms reveals that the season started early, in mid-January, with a subtropical storm that remained at sea off the U.S. East Coast and was not named until a reanalysis in May.
Tropical Storm Arlene was the first named storm of the season, receiving its name on June 2 after forming in the Gulf of Mexico. However, it was short-lived and did not impact any land as a named storm. On June 22, Hurricane Don became the first hurricane of 2023.
While it briefly reached hurricane status with top winds of 75 mph, it never impacted land. Hurricane Tammy was the final named storm, forming on October 18 in the central Atlantic and later becoming a hurricane.
It brought wind and rain to some of the Lesser Antilles and eventually made landfall on the island of Barbuda as a Category 1 storm with 85 mph winds. The most powerful hurricane of the 2023 season was Lee, which explosively strengthened and peaked as a Category 5 storm with 165 mph winds.
Lee weakened, passing west of Bermuda but still brushing the island with wind and rain. It ultimately made landfall on September 16 as a post-tropical storm on Long Island, Nova Scotia, with 70 mph winds.
Three storms directly impacted the United States, with the most powerful being Hurricane Idalia in the Gulf of Mexico. Idalia reached Category 4 status with 130 mph winds on August 30, just before making landfall.
However, the storm weakened slightly and was a top-end Category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds when it hit Florida’s Gulf Coast near Keaton Beach. Hurricane Idalia was responsible for four deaths in Florida. Tropical Storm Harold also made landfall in the Gulf on August 22, striking Padre Island, Texas, with 50 mph winds.
Finally, Tropical Storm Ophelia hit the western Atlantic on September 23, making landfall near Emerald Isle, N.C., with 70 mph winds. Of the 20 named storms, many remained at sea and were short-lived. Apart from Idalia, Arlene, and Harold, the Gulf of Mexico was relatively quiet this year. During the 2023 season, no storms threatened Alabama.