JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting yet another above-average hurricane season, for the seventh consecutive year, heading into the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season.
NOAA, the government agency that oversees the NHC and other environmental-related entities, forecasts 14-21 named storms with winds of at least 39 mph, or tropical storm strength, this season. This is above the average of 14 named storms.
Of those storms, six to ten are expected to be of hurricane strength, with winds at or above 74 mph. And three to six of those are forecast to reach major hurricane strength — Category 3 or higher, with winds of at least 111 mph.
There is an average of seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes each year.
"Since the year 2000, we've seen a 57% improvement in the average 72-hour National Hurricane Center track error in the Atlantic basin," NOAA Administrator Dr. Richard Spinrad said. "This can be attributed in part to NOAA's flagship weather model, the Global Forecast System, incorporating things like dropsondes and hurricane hunter flight data into its analysis."
Other organizations, including AccuWeather and Colorado State University, already have published their hurricane outlooks. Both are also predicting above-average seasons. Both organizations highlight two major factors to the busy season ahead indicating a more-active period thanks to warm sea-surface temperatures and an ongoing La Niña phase.
When a La Niña phase is around for hurricane season, the Atlantic basin can expect lighter upper-level winds, which means less wind shear. When there is less wind shear, tropical storms and hurricanes can develop and strengthen.
Colorado State University forecasts 19 named storms, nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes. AccuWeather predicts 16-20 named storms, six to eight hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes.
“Early preparation and understanding your risk is key to being hurricane resilient and climate-ready,” Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo added. “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.”
NOAA’s outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast. In addition to the Atlantic seasonal outlook, NOAA has also issued seasonal hurricane outlooks for the eastern Pacific and central Pacific hurricane basins. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will update the 2022 Atlantic seasonal outlook in early August, just prior to the historical peak of the season.