On Aug. 4, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) slightly decreased the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season to 60%. That is down from 65% in the initial NOAA outlook issued in May. The likelihood of near-normal activity has risen to 30% from 25% in May, and the chances remain at 10% for a below-normal season.
NOAA’s update to the 2022 outlook calls for 14 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater). The May outlook called for 14 to 21 named storms.
The August update projects that six to 10 of the storms could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), the same as in May.
NOAA now projects that three to five of the hurricanes could become major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater). The May outlook projected three to six major hurricanes.
NOAA provides these ranges with 70% confidence.
So far, the season has seen three named storms and no hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin. An average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which seven become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
This outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast. Landfalls are largely governed by short-term weather patterns that are currently only predictable within about one week of a storm potentially reaching a coastline.
There are several atmospheric and oceanic conditions that still favor an active hurricane season. This includes La Niña conditions, which are favored to remain in place for the rest of 2022 and could allow the ongoing high-activity era conditions to dominate or slightly enhance hurricane activity. In addition to a continued La Niña, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, an active West African monsoon and likely above-normal Atlantic sea-surface temperatures set the stage for an active hurricane season.
“Although it has been a relatively slow start to hurricane season, with no major storms developing in the Atlantic, this is not unusual and we therefore cannot afford to let our guard down,” said Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell.
Colorado State University (CSU) also decreased its hurricane forecast in August. It projected 18 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes. All of the CSU projections lie within NOAA’s forecast range of storms and hurricanes.
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