NOAA and Colorado State continue to forecast an active 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Colorado State University continue to forecast an active 2022 Atlantic Hurricane season.
NOAA’s August 2022 outlook is forecasting 14-20 named storms (wind speeds of 39 mph or higher), 6-10 hurricanes (wind speeds 74 mph or higher), with 3-5 major hurricanes (Category 3-5). Their forecast is very similar to their original outlook issued in May. The only minor change they made in the forecast is that they are now predicting a 60% (versus a 65%) chance of an above-normal season. The likelihood of a near-normal activity has increased to 30% with only a 10% chance for a below-normal season.
Colorado State University’s (CSU) latest forecast continues to show an active season, but they lowered their numbers slightly. They are now forecasting 18 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. They originally predicted 20 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 5 major hurricanes back in July 2022. Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist in the department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University who specializes on tropical cyclones, tweeted, “One reason for reduction in Atlantic seasonal hurricane forecast from CSU is due to development of below-normal sea surface temperatures in the subtropical Atlantic. When the subtropical Atlantic is cooler than normal, it can sometimes favor increased shear in the tropical Atlantic.” Dry air and high wind shear are good things. They can limit and prevent tropical activity from developing. When winds shear is low or absent, conditions can become more favorable for tropical waves to grow into hurricanes. Sea-surface temperatures remain well above average in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. Warm ocean water of 85°F+ can help to rapidly intensify storms.
We have already recorded three named storms this season, but July was very quiet after Colin formed. Dry air, Saharan Dust, and increasing wind shear kept tropical activity from developing in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. We normally average three named storms by August 3rd, so the season is actually right on schedule. June and July are normally quiet months. 86% of the tropical activity in the Atlantic occurs after August 1st. The season is still young. One huge reason both CSU and NOAA are forecasting an active season is thanks to La Niña. Stronger trade winds help to cool the equatorial Pacific ocean. The cooler than average temperatures in the Pacific can result in lower wind shear and favorable conditions for tropical development in the Atlantic. They continue to forecast an active season because long-range models continue to show a strong La Niña continuing into the fall months. Remember that it only takes one storm to make a hurricane season historic. Hurricane season typically peaks in September and ends on November 30th. Based on the latest forecasts, we will likely see a big uptick in tropical activity for the second half of August and September.
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