Hurricane season ends with Bermuda escaping major impact
The 2022 hurricane season will end today with Bermuda having escaped any major impacts — despite a few close calls.
Over the course of the season, the Atlantic recorded 14 named storms, including eight hurricanes and two major hurricanes, reaching at least Category 3 — making it close to an average season.
The average Atlantic hurricane season has 14 named storms, including seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
Early forecasts had suggested that the season would be an above normal, with the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Centre forecasting between 14 and 20 named storms, six to ten hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes.
Matthew Rosencrans, lead hurricane forecaster at the CPC, said: “The 2022 seasonal activity fell within NOAA’s predicted ranges for named storms and hurricanes in both our pre-season outlook and updated outlook.
“La Niña conditions remained robust throughout the season while the West African monsoon was only slightly above normal, which both largely aligned with conditions anticipated by the team at NOAA.”
NOAA said the season was defined by a “rare mid-season pause” in storms in August, which researchers believe may be linked to increased wind shear and suppressed atmospheric moisture over the Atlantic.
The season started early for Bermuda with the first tropical storm of the year, Alex, passing about 115 miles north-northwest of the island on the morning of June 6, knocking out power for more than 1,000 homes across the island.
BWS said that the storm had brought maximum sustained winds of 58mph, which was recorded from the roof of the National Museum of Bermuda.
One person reportedly sustained a non-life-threatening injury during clean-up efforts and was taken to the emergency room at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.
Bermuda endured another close call on September 9 when Hurricane Earl became the second storm of the year to approach the island.
While Earl was initially forecast to reach Category 4 strength, conditions for the storm became less favourable as it approached the island, causing it to fluctuate between a Category 1 and Category 2 system.
Hurricane Earl passed to the east of Bermuda, bringing rain and tropical storm force winds and knocking out power to about 1,500 homes, but no notable damage.
Two weeks later, Bermuda again escaped a major blow as Hurricane Fiona — the first major hurricane of the year — passed to the island’s west on September 23 as a Category 4 storm.
Although gusts of up to 113mph were recorded in the West End at the height of the hurricane, damage was largely limited to downed trees and telegraph poles and fears of three-foot-high flooding and a storm surge did not materialise.
Almost 30,000 homes lost power in the midst of the storm, with some not regaining power until days later.
However, Bermuda was left in a far better state than other nations that were hammered by the storm.
Hurricane Fiona was blamed for 13 deaths in Puerto Rico, where it caused an island-wide failure of the power grid, and three deaths in Canada after it struck Nova Scotia.
While Bermuda was fortunate to avoid direct hits during the 2022 hurricane season, other areas were less lucky.
The season’s second major hurricane, Hurricane Ian, battered Cuba before it struck Florida’s Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane, causing an estimated 114 deaths in the state.
Six weeks later, the state was dealt a second blow when Hurricane Nicole — the final hurricane of the season — made landfall on Florida’s east coast as a Category 1 storm on November 9, shortly after passing over the Bahamas.
While the 2022 season was close to average, researchers have found that the waters off the US East Coast have become increasingly favourable for hurricane development.
A recent study said the findings were consistent with an “increasingly favourable” environment for hurricane growth — and warned that the trend was expected to continue in the coming years as waters continued to warm.