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Hurricane season predicted to be 7th consecutive year of above-average storm production, NOAA says

Orlando Sentinel logoOrlando Sentinel 5/24/2022 Joe Mario Pedersen, Orlando Sentinel

Get prepared, experts are predicting another busy storm season starting next month for the seventh consecutive year in a row.

On Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its prediction of a 65% chance of experiencing an above-average 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, beginning June 1 and running until Nov. 30.

“You look at the the climate models, you look at some of the climate predictors, and it’s, it’s a very similar pattern to last year,” said Ken Graham, the National Hurricane Center director, last month during the Orlando National Hurricane Conference. “We’re still dealing with this La Niña, which usually means a more active pattern in the Atlantic.”

NOAA hurricane specialists also called for a 25% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. The prediction comes off the heels last season of 21 named storms — the third greatest total of a single season — and 2020′s record-breaking season of 30 named systems.

NOAA’s forecast includes a 70% confidence of seeing a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms — winds of 39 mph or higher. Of that total scientists are expecting to see six to 10 become hurricanes; with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher, and three to six major hurricanes — also known as Category 3, 4 and 5 storms with maximum sustained winds greater than 110 mph.

As Graham said in April, NOAA’s current forecast is guided by an ongoing La Niña, which is a climate phenomenon part of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation cycle and describes the changes in temperature between the ocean and atmosphere in the east-central Equatorial Pacific. A weak La Niña in the Pacific means warmer waters are anticipated during the peak of hurricane season — mid-August to mid-October — in the Atlantic.


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NOAA scientists are also anticipating an enhanced west African monsoon, which support stronger African Easterly Waves, and seed many of the strongest and longest lived hurricanes.

“As we reflect on another potentially busy hurricane season, past storms — such as Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the New York metro area 10 years ago — remind us that the impact of one storm can be felt for years,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad. “Since Sandy, NOAA’s forecasting accuracy has continued to improve, allowing us to better predict the impacts of major hurricanes to lives and livelihoods.”

The NOAA isn’t alone in its predictions as Colorado State University and AccuWeather released similar findings earlier this year. The former released its prediction in April and forecast 19 named storms this season — five more storms than what the NOAA considers average, based on data collected from 1991 to 2020. The prediction calls for four major hurricanes. The average season has about three. Additionally, CSU is predicting above-average hurricane activity with nine hurricanes forecast for the season, two more than the average.

AccuWeather’s pre-hurricane season forecast called for 16-20 named tropical systems.

The 2022 storm names are listed as Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie and Walter.

“Early preparation and understanding your risk is key to being hurricane resilient and climate-ready,” said U.S. 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.”

Jpedersen@orlandosentinel.com

©2022 Orlando Sentinel. Visit orlandosentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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