NOAA hurricane forecast 2022: Up to 21 named storms possible; as many as 10 hurricanes could form
Federal forecasters expect yet another busy Atlantic hurricane season in 2022: As many as 10 hurricanes forming, meteorologists said Tuesday.
The season begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. An average season typically spawns seven hurricanes and peaks in August and September. If predictions hold true, it will be a record seventh consecutive year of above-normal activity.
Overall, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said 14 to 21 named storms will develop. This number includes tropical storms, which contain wind speeds of 39 mph or higher. Storms become hurricanes when winds reach 74 mph.
Of the predicted hurricanes, three to six could be major hurricanes, packing wind speeds of 111 mph or higher.
The predicted active season is a result of 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.
El Niño, a natural warming of ocean water in the tropical Pacific Ocean, tends to suppress Atlantic hurricane activity. Its opposite, La Niña, a cooling of that same water, usually boosts the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic.
Forecasts include storms that spin up in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.
NOAA's forecast follows others this spring that also called for a more active hurricane season.
Last month, meteorologists at Colorado State University predicted 19 tropical storms will form, nine of which will become hurricanes.
Forecasters also released their prediction for the eastern Pacific basin, where 10 to 17 named storms are expected. An average eastern Pacific hurricane season produces 15 named storms.
Eastern Pacific storms and hurricanes primarily stay out to sea and seldom affect the U.S. mainland, although some storms hit the west coast of Mexico. Remnant moisture from the storms can dump heavy rain on the U.S. Southwest, leading to flooding.
(c)2022 USA Today. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.