A Coast Guard Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew conducts an overflight of the Mississippi River for potential pollution threats and environmental impacts from Hurricane Ida Sept. 3, 2021 in Luling, Louisiana. U.S. Coast Guard

NOAA Predicts Seventh Consecutive Above-Average Atlantic Hurricane Season in 2022

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1919
May 24, 2022

Forecasters at NOAA’s National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center are again predicting above-average hurricane season this year, in part due to ongoing La Niña that is likely to last through the hurricane season.

NOAA’s outlook for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which was issued today and extends from June 1 to November 30, predicts a 65% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season.

If the forecast holds, it would make the 2022 season the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season. The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season concluded with 21 named storms, including seven hurricanes of which four were major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or greater, making last year an above-average in-line with forecasts. Last year’s season included Hurricane Ida, the worst storm to hit the U.S. offshore energy industry since Katrina 16 years ago.

For the 2022 hurricane season, NOAA is forecasting with 70% confidence a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms (where winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).

NOAA said the increased activity can be attributed to several climate factors, including the ongoing La Niña that is likely to persist throughout the hurricane season, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds and an enhanced west African monsoon. Also, an enhanced west African monsoon supports stronger African Easterly Waves, which seed many of the strongest and longest lived hurricanes during most seasons.

“Early preparation and understanding your risk is key to being hurricane resilient and climate-ready,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “Throughout the hurricane season, NOAA experts will work around-the-clock to provide early and accurate forecasts and warnings that communities in the path of storms can depend on to stay informed.”

Keep in mind that NOAA’s outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast, rather an early warning to the public about what is potentially in store for the season ahead. It has also issued seasonal hurricane outlooks for the eastern Pacific and central Pacific hurricane basins. NOAA also provides updated outlooks in August, once the season has had a chance to unfold.

“As we reflect on another potentially busy hurricane season, past storms — such as Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the New York metro area ten years ago — remind us that the impact of one storm can be felt for years,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “Since Sandy, NOAA’s forecasting accuracy has continued to improve, allowing us to better predict the impacts of major hurricanes to lives and livelihoods.”

This year, NOAA has released a number of new products and services designed to alert the public and enhance forecast models.

“As we reflect on another potentially busy hurricane season, past storms — such as Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the New York metro area ten years ago — remind us that the impact of one storm can be felt for years,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “Since Sandy, NOAA’s forecasting accuracy has continued to improve, allowing us to better predict the impacts of major hurricanes to lives and livelihoods.”

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