Allyson Rae explains how shear affects hurricane formation.

La Niña has ended, what does that mean for the 2023 hurricane season?

Climate forecasters say La Niña has ended and ENSO neutral conditions are expected through early summer.

Furthermore, El Niño conditions are possible by mid-summer or the height of the hurricane season. This development could be a major factor in our hurricane season outlook for the 2023 season. You can check out the latest forecast plume here.

El Niño conditions are present when the equatorial east Pacific Ocean has warmer than normal temperatures and higher moisture content.

This creates weaker trade winds which in turn can create higher than normal wind shear in the Atlantic Basin and, more notably, the Caribbean Sea.

Wind shear is important when it comes to hurricane formation. An environment with lower wind shear is more favorable for hurricanes to continue to develop.

Alternatively, an environment with higher wind shear would hinder a storm’s development. If the storm is not vertically stacked throughout the column of the atmosphere, it will have a harder time organizing and gaining strength.

It is important to remember that this does not mean storms or strong storms won’t form. For example, there was a strong El Niño during the 1992 hurricane season. Although there were only seven storms that year, one of them was Category 5 Hurricane Andrew.

The presence of El Niño or La Niña is just one of many factors that give us an idea of how hurricane season may perform. Think of it like a baseball team and you are starting the season without a talented player. That doesn’t mean you are going to lose every game.

Also, remember the ENSO forecast is subject to change over the next few months.

You can watch Allyson Rae’s explanation of the El Niño - La Niña effects on hurricane formation here.

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