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Forecasters: Expect 5-8 more tropical cyclones, with 3-5 more typhoons



By Dana Williams


Residents of Guam and most of the Northern Marianas can expect five to eight named storms this year, with three to five of those storms reaching typhoon strength.


Two or three of those typhoons are expected to be major.


The forecast is “a general guide of predicted tropical cyclone activity across the region,” said Landon Aydlett, National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist. “It's not a prediction of how many systems will actually make landfall.”


Aydlett spoke at the third annual Western North Pacific Regional Climate Conference Thursday, where meteorologists and emergency managers discussed early warning systems and communication strategies.


After three years of relative calm, conditions are expected to be favorable for more storms during the rest of 2023.


On June 8, the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center issued an El Niño alert. Warmer ocean surface temperatures were strengthening across the central and eastern Pacific.


This means storms form farther to the east, giving them time to develop before they reach our area. It is a stark contrast from the La Niña pattern we’ve seen in the past few years, he said.


“Typically, in a La Niña pattern tropical disturbances and cyclones start developing in the western central Micronesia region and then move off farther to the west toward the Philippines or Southeast Asia.”


That means Guam gets fewer storms in La Niña and neutral years, more in El Niño years.



“So you have to think back to years like 2015. That was a strong El Niño year, where we had significantly more activity across the region,” he said.


While most of the region will see more storms, activity in Palau will be normal or below normal, “based on the climatology of eastward shift to tropical cyclones,” he said. “We expect that more of the developed tropical cyclones will pass to the north of the Republic of Palau, which is fairly good news.”


Palau can expect two to four cyclones of at least tropical storm strength, with one or two of those becoming typhoons.


The outlook for the rest of the region for the remainder of 2023:


  • Chuuk north of latitude 6N: Four to six cyclones, two to four typhoons, one major typhoon.

  • Pohnpei north of 6N: Three to five cyclones, two or three typhoons, one major.

  • Yap: Three to five cyclones, two or three typhoons, one major.

  • Marshall Islands north of 6N: Three to five cyclones, two or three typhoons, one major.

  • Marshall Islands south of 6N: Two or three cyclones, zero or one typhoon.

  • Northern CNMI: Three to five cyclones, two or three typhoons, one major.

  • Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk south of 6N: Two to four cyclones, zero or one typhoon.


An updated outlook might be provided in August if there are major changes, Aydlett said.


Aydlett said it’s still early in the season, and people can learn how to better prepare by reviewing what happened during the recent storm.


“Keep in mind whatever worked well for you on Guam with Mawar, what did not work well with you with Mawar’s passage. This is the time to make those changes. Adjust your plans and procedures with your family, your office, your business.”


The peak time of year for tropical storms and typhoons is coming up in a couple of months.

“We do have a lot of seasons ahead of us,” he said



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