ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season remains on track for an above-average season, government forecasters warned Thursday.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the agency that oversees the National Hurricane Center and other environmental-related entities, forecasts a total of 14-20 named storms with winds of at least 39 mph, or tropical storm strength, this season.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
Of those named storms, six to 10 are expected to be of hurricane strength, with winds at or above 74 mph. And three to five of those are forecast to reach major hurricane strength — Category 3 or higher, with winds of at least 111 mph.
There is an average of seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes each year.
NOAA's updated seasonal outlook shows just a slight decrease from what it forecast in late May. The chance for an above-normal season fell from 65 percent to 60 percent in its latest forecast.
The agency said one of the reasons for, perhaps, fewer storms has to do with the average Atlantic sea surface temperatures. A few months ago, they were expected to run above average in areas where tropical systems typically form. Now, they're expected to be closer to normal as the water has somewhat cooled.
- 14-21 named storms
- 6-10 hurricane strength
- 3-6 major hurricane strength
There have been three named storms already this year — Alex, Bonnie and Colin.
"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 Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D, said in a statement. "NOAA stands ready to deliver timely and accurate forecasts and warnings to help communities prepare in advance of approaching storms."
It's important to note that NOAA's forecast is not a landfall forecast — it does not indicate the number of storms that hit land. It's also especially important to remember it only takes one landfalling storm for the season to be historic.
Three tropical systems made landfall in 1992: Tropical Depression One, Tropical Storm Danielle and Hurricane Andrew. Category 5 Andrew topped the list of the costliest U.S. hurricanes at the time at $27.3 billion, not adjusted for inflation.