The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and extends into the fall, coming to a close November 30.

Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with the Climate Prediction Center announced their initial outlook for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane period. Seasonal activity is predicted to be near-normal, producing a forecasted 12 to 17 named storms. This is partly due to an ongoing El Niño and above-average Atlantic temperatures, according to NOAA.

A new feature this year, the National Hurricane Center’s Tropical Weather Outlook (which shows tropical cyclone formation potential) has expanded the forecast range from five to seven days to create better awareness and preparation as a storm develops.

Storms become hurricanes once maximum sustained wind speed reaches at least 74 mph and are categorized from 1 to 5. The higher the category, the greater the chance for property damage. Besides damages from wind, hurricanes can produce devastating flooding. However, a powerful storm can create damage even if it’s not classified as a hurricane due to lower wind speeds.

“Hurricane season highlights the potential for serious damage from high winds, intense precipitation over a short period, and lightning that can cause power outages, flooding, property damage, and harm to ourselves and loved ones,” said Dominick Mireles, Director, Office of Emergency Management. “Do not take a storm less serious because it’s not labeled a hurricane. Tropical storms and thunderstorms that produce tornadoes, hail, flooding, and excessive wind gusts are impactful and destructive. Emergency readiness begins at home and we need residents and businesses to be prepared to create resilient communities throughout Philadelphia,” Mireles added.

Resources can be found on the Office of Emergency Management’s website, including insight into how our office prepares for forecasted storms and ways to document your damage if you should experience a disaster.

The Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management urges residents and businesses to prepare for severe storms, not only during the Atlantic hurricane season, but year-round:

  • Stay aware. Get storm information and emergency details from the City. Text READYPHILA to 888-777 for free text alerts or visit OEM’s website at to customize your free text or emails, including flood forecasts on area waterways.
  • Be insured. Assess your flood risk and give yourself an insurance check-up. Flood insurance is not covered under a standard homeowner or renter’s policy. There is no guarantee that federal disaster assistance will be available when a flood occurs.
  • Remain prepared. Create a family emergency plan and build a disaster supply kit, including water and non-perishable food for three days.
  • Get connected. Join OEM’s Community Preparedness team to get monthly newsletters. Join our Community Chat series every first Tuesday and third Thursday of the month on Facebook. Email us at to check availability on scheduling preparedness workshops that will teach you about emergency planning and how to put those plans into action.
  • Access resources. Find helpful flooding info all in one place, including the Guide to Flooding in Philadelphia from the City’s Flood Risk Management Task Force.
Severe weather words defined.