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Forecasters predict a busy 2022 hurricane season

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The 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season is set to begin next week, and experts on both sides of the Atlantic have warned that it could be a busy one.

Both the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the UK’s Meteorological Office have said in their preseason forecasts that they expect a higher than average number of storms.

The NOAA forecasts between 14 and 21 named storms, of which six to ten could reach hurricane strength.

Of those, it is expected that three to six could become “major hurricanes” that reach at least Category 3 strength.

The NOAA forecast said: “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.”

Rick Spinrad, NOAA administrator, added: “As we reflect on another potentially busy hurricane season, past storms – such as Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the New York metro area ten years ago – remind us that the impact of one storm can be felt for years.

“Since Sandy, NOAA’s forecasting accuracy has continued to improve, allowing us to better predict the impacts of major hurricanes to lives and livelihoods.”

According to a seasonal forecast published by the Met Office this week, it is expected that about 18 named storms will form during the hurricane season, which begins on June 1 and continues until the end of November.

The Met Office said that there was a 70 per cent chance there would be between 13 and 23 storms, while the long-term average number is 14.

“The most likely number of hurricanes predicted to occur in the North Atlantic during the June to November period is nine, with a 70 per cent chance that the number will be in the range six to 12,” the forecast added.

“The 1991-2020 long-term average is seven. The most likely number of major hurricanes with winds of at least 111mph predicted to occur in the North Atlantic, during the June to November period, is four, with a 70 per chance that the number will be in the range two to six. The 1991-2020 long-term average is three.”

The Met Office also forecast the season’s Accumulated Cyclone Energy, which is used to measure the collective intensity and duration of storms during the season.

While the long term average ACE is 121, the Met Office forecast an ACE of 176 for the coming season.

AccuWeather previously forecast between 16 and 20 named storms including six to eight hurricanes, while Colorado State University estimated between 15 and 18 named storms for 2022, including between nine and eleven hurricanes.

In 2021, a total of 21 named storms were reported including seven hurricanes, four of which reached at least Category 3 strength.

Meanwhile 2020 was the most active year on record with 30 named storms including 14 hurricanes, seven of which reached Category 3 strength.

However Bermuda avoided the worst of the storms, with only one direct hit between the two years – Hurricane Paulette, which caused about 25,000 homes to lose power when it struck on September 14, 2020 as a Category 1 hurricane.

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Published May 25, 2022 at 7:57 am (Updated May 25, 2022 at 5:25 pm)

Forecasters predict a busy 2022 hurricane season

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