Hurricane season still expected to be busier than average, says NOAA in midseason update
Despite a quiet start, forecasters have warned that the 2022 hurricane season is still expected to be busier than average.
While only three named storms and no hurricanes have been recorded in the Atlantic since the start of the season on June 1, the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said yesterday that conditions still favour an above-normal season.
In its midseason update, NOAA decreased the likelihood of an above-normal season from 65 per cent to 60 per cent, while increasing the odds of a near-normal season from 25 per cent to 30 per cent.
The likelihood of a below-normal season remained at 10 per cent.
The updated forecast predicts between 14 and 20 named storms — counting in the three already reported — including six to ten hurricanes.
Of those, between three and five are expected to become major hurricanes, reaching at least Category 3 strength.
An average hurricane season includes 14 named storms including seven hurricanes, three of which become major hurricanes.
Rick Spinrad, NOAA administrator, said: “We’re just getting into the peak months of August through October for hurricane development, and we anticipate that more storms are on the way.
“NOAA stands ready to deliver timely and accurate forecasts and warnings to help communities prepare in advance of approaching storms.”
The update warned that conditions still favour an active hurricane season including La Niña conditions in the Pacific, which encourages storm development in the Atlantic.
The NOAA update said: “In addition to a continued La Niña, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, an active West African monsoon and likely above-normal Atlantic sea-surface temperatures set the stage for an active hurricane season and are reflective of the ongoing high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes.”
In 2021, 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.
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.