SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season starts in one week on June 1. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Climate Prediction Center have released their seasonal forecast.
Their forecast calls for an above-average season with 14-21 named storms with 6 to 10 developing into hurricanes. 3 to 6 hurricanes may become major hurricanes of category 3 or greater.
The current climatological averages for the Atlantic are 14 total named storms with 7 becoming hurricanes. Typically we can expect just 3 major hurricanes. This is an increase over previous decades of hurricane activity.
NOAA is expecting the 2022 season to be above average because the current La Niña phase in the Pacific is expected to persist through the season. Also, sea surface temperatures have been warmer than average in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. This has been a factor for many active hurricane seasons over the past several years.
Another reason is easterly trade winds in the Atlantic continue to be weaker. This means strong wind shear, which usually helps tear apart developing storms, would be not as strong through the season.
NOAA is expected the west African monsoon to be very active this season. This will mean more tropical waves will move into the Atlantic. Since there will be more systems combined with the other reasons listed above, more storms have a chance of growing into full tropical storms or hurricanes. This will lead to an above-average hurricane season.
This is not a forecast of where storms may develop or impact. It does take just one storm for a hurricane season to be a bad season locally.
Since the 2015 season, a storm has formed before the official start date of June 1. It is possible that this could be the first season in 8 years to break that streak. Last year, tropical storm Ana formed on May 23. As of today, May 24, the National Hurricane Center is not expecting any tropical development within the next 5 days.