Forecasters predict an abnormally high number of storms for this hurricane season—again

Forecasters predict an abnormally high number of storms for this hurricane season—again thumbnail

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts that 2022 will be yet another above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic.

NOAA predicts with 70 percent confidence that from June 1 to November 30, the eastern US coast will see up to 21 named storms. Six to 10 of those storms could become hurricanes, with three to six of those hurricanes potentially being “major”–category 3, 4, or 5.

A hyperactive storm season is not to be taken lightly, NOAA officials stress. The agency’s administrator, Rick Spinrad, said in a statement that even though forecasting accuracy has greatly improved over the years, major hurricanes can still seriously upend lives and livelihoods. “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,” he said.

Multiple weather factors are responsible for the expected surge in hurricane activity. La Nina is a phenomenon where cold water upwellings push water and cold air northward and southward. This means fewer hurricanes in the Pacific and more in the Atlantic ,. There are also droughts in the south and heavy rains and floods throughout the north and Canada. If La Nina persists throughout this year and on to next winter, it will be the third La Nina winter in a row, a phenomenon that has only happened twice before on record: from 1973-1976 and 1998-2001.

[Related: Here’s how much climate change intensified 2020’s hyperactive hurricane season]

A higher level of hurricane activity is expected due to the warmer-than-average ocean surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea. The West African monsoon season is experiencing an increase, which typically seeds strong and long-lasting hurricanes on the North American side of the ocean.

So many hurricane events happen annually that meteorologists have gone through an entire alphabet of storm names for several years. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has created a list of names for this year’s hurricane season.

“If you go back two years, the 2020 hurricane season broke records across the board and it’s the most active season on record with 30 named storms,” Spinrad told CNN. “The 2021 hurricane season, which is the third most active year on record in terms of names of storms brought us 21 named storms with impacts, ranging from the Appalachian Mountains all the way to New England, resulting in over $78.5 billion in US damage.”

As hurricanes and other weather patterns consistently intensify over the years, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials state that it is more imperative than ever that everyone practices storm safety such as gathering storm kits, protecting your home, and planning evacuation or shelter options.

“Hurricane Ida covered nine states, demonstrating how anyone can be in direct path of a hurricane or in danger from remnants of a storm,” Deanne Criswell, FEMA Administrator, stated in the NOAA Report .. “It is important that everyone understands their risk and takes proactive steps to prepare .”

Hannah Seo

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