HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1st. This seems irrelevant when you consider that since 2015 a storm has been named each year 2015-2021 before June 1st.
The 2022 Hurricane Season Outlook comes after a long 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season that featured 21 named storms, 7 of which became hurricanes, and 4 of those becoming Major Hurricanes.
A Major Hurricane is one that reaches a Category Three strength.
NOAA is predicting 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.
For the 2022 hurricane season, NOAA is forecasting a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms (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 provides these ranges with 70% confidence.
The increased activity anticipated this hurricane season is 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. An enhanced west African monsoon supports stronger African Easterly Waves, which seed many of the strongest and longest-lived hurricanes during most seasons. The way in which climate change impacts the strength and frequency of tropical cyclones is a continuous area of study for NOAA scientists.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season Starts June 1st, but we don't normally see a peak in named storms and hurricanes until early August. It takes some time for the Gulf of Mexico to warm and reach a temperature that can support Tropical Systems.
We can compare the NOAA Forecast to the 2022 Colorado State University Forecast that was released in April. The forecast from CSU calls for 19 named storms, 9 of which would become Hurricanes, and 4 of those becoming major hurricanes.
If the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season is above average, it would be the 7th consecutive year with an above-average season.