Hurricane season: 19 named storms expected, above average but becoming more common, CSU forecast says

Of the 19 storms, nine are expected to become hurricanes and four are expected to become major hurricanes, Category 3 or higher, with winds exceeding 111 miles per hour, according to hurricane experts at Colorado State University (CSU). .

The report details another very active hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, and includes an above-average forecast for all storm categories.

This year’s forecast looks eerily similar to the predictions of the past two years.

Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist in the CSU Department of Atmospheric Sciences and lead author of the report, compared the 2022 forecast to those of 2021 and 2020.

“For example, in both April 2020 and April 2021, we forecast eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes. This year, we forecast nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes,” Klotzbach told CNN.

The new hurricane season is shaping up to be as active, if not slightly more so, than last year’s, which was the third-busiest season on record.

“The team predicts that 2022 hurricane activity will be about 130 percent of the average season from 1991 to 2020. By comparison, 2021 hurricane activity was about 120 percent of the average season,” the report stated. .

A forecast of 19 named storms for the upcoming season tops the last two years as the most named storms CSU has forecast in an April outlook.

“One of the reasons we are forecasting more named storms than in previous years is that we are now naming more storms than before due to technological improvements,” Klotzbach explained.

Thanks to improvements in satellites, they can now detect faint storms that may have been missed even 20 or 30 years ago, Klotzbach added.

With the previous two years running out of name charts, 2022 may add a third straight year to the record.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has a supplemental list of Atlantic tropical cyclone names just in case.

Reason behind the active Atlantic season

The main factor contributing to a hyperactive Atlantic season is “the likely absence of an El Niño,” according to CSU hurricane researchers.

The tropical Pacific is currently under weak La Niña conditions, a pattern known for cooler-than-average ocean temperatures around the equator.

The phenomenon has impacts on the climate around the world.

La Niña presents favorable conditions for hurricanes unlike El Niño. Hurricane seasons under El Niño conditions are known for upper-level wind patterns throughout the Caribbean that push hurricanes apart as they attempt to form, making the seasons less active.

“While La Niña may weaken and transition to neutral conditions by this summer, CSU does not currently expect El Niño to be the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season,” the report said.

The report added that “the warmer Caribbean and subtropical eastern Atlantic also favor an active Atlantic hurricane season in 2022.”

Tropical storms crave warm ocean water, which helps fuel their growth and development. It’s one of the key reasons scientists say the climate crisis is changing Atlantic hurricanes. Warmer water and air can increase rainfall rates, making a landfalling hurricane more likely to cause disastrous flooding. Sea level rise has also increased damage from storm surges.
“We know that, in general, hurricanes are intensifying faster,” Katharine Hayhoe, chief scientist at the Nature Conservancy and a professor at Texas Tech University, previously told CNN. “They’re bigger and stronger than they would otherwise be; they have a lot more rain associated with them, and sea level rise exacerbates storm surges.”

Although recent seasons have seen an increase in hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin, research has shown an overall declining trend in hurricanes globally since 1990.

“We attribute the reason behind this to be due to a trend towards more frequent La Niña and less El Niño over the last 30 years,” Klotzbach told CNN, citing his recently published research.

La Niña conditions tend to increase hurricane activity in the Atlantic, but decrease hurricane/typhoon activity in the Pacific basin, according to Klotzbach.

“Since the Pacific is a much larger basin and generally generates many more storms than the Atlantic, we have seen an overall trend toward fewer global hurricane-force tropical cyclones despite the increased activity we have observed in the Atlantic,” he said. Klotzbach. he said.

Stay ahead of hurricane season

“It only takes one storm near you to make this an active season,” said Michael Bell, a professor in the CSU Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

Coastal communities are being warned to start taking proper precautions for an active hurricane season now.

The chance of a major hurricane making landfall along the US coast is 71%, well above the 52% average over the last century, according to the report.

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A more than two-thirds chance of a major hurricane making landfall should inspire those in hurricane-prone areas to start taking action now. The damage from Category 4 Hurricane Ida, which hit the Gulf Coast in 2021, serves as a stark reminder of the power of major tropical cyclones.
Widespread destruction and flooding left by Hurricane Ida near Point-Aux-Chenes, Louisiana.
Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 1-7, during which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) encourages people to determine their hurricane risk, make an evacuation plan, and gather emergency supplies in case of a hurricane. for a hurricane to affect your area.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC), a branch of NOAA, will release its first tropical outlook for the 2022 hurricane season on May 15.

CSU will also update its forecast on June 2, July 7, and August 4 to keep the public as up to date as possible.

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