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NWS predicts 'above-average' hurricane season for 7th year in a row

The outlook forecasts six to 10 hurricanes, of which three to six could become major hurricanes.
Credit: NOAA
A visible satellite image of Hurricane Ida approaching land in the Gulf of Mexico taken by NOAA's GOES-16 (GOES East) satellite at 4:10 am (EDT) on August 29, 2021. (NOAA)

NEW ORLEANS — Forecasters at the National Weather Service are predicting "above-average" hurricane activity this year for the seventh year in a row.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center released its 2022 Atlantic hurricane season outlook on Tuesday, which forecasts 14 to 21 named storms. The outlook forecasts six to 10 hurricanes, of which three to six could become major hurricanes.

Forecasters say the expected increased activity is attributed to several factors including an ongoing La Niña which should continue throughout the hurricane season, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, a weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds and an enhanced west African monsoon.

When a La Niña phase is around for hurricane season, we can expect lighter upper-level winds, which means less wind shear. When there is less wind shear, tropical storms and hurricanes can develop and strengthen.

The NWS says the enhanced west African monsoon will support stronger tropical waves which seed many of the strongest and longest-lived hurricanes during Atlantic hurricane seasons.

“Hurricane Ida spanned nine states, demonstrating that anyone can be in the direct path of a hurricane and in danger from the remnants of a storm system,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “It’s important for everyone to understand their risk and take proactive steps to get ready now by visiting Ready.gov and Listo.gov for preparedness tips, and by downloading the FEMA App to make sure you are receiving emergency alerts in real-time.”

Hurricane season extends from June 1 to November 30.  

The NWS' prediction comes just days after the National Hurricane Center (NHC) started tracking what was the first area of disturbed tropical weather in the Gulf of Mexico. This disturbance didn't turn out to be anything beyond heavy rainfall and strong storms for portions of the Florida Panhandle, Alabama and Georgia.

Other organizations, including AccuWeather and Colorado State University, already have published their hurricane outlooks published. Both are predicting above-average seasons, as well, and both are highlighting two major factors indicating a more-active period, including warm ocean water and an ongoing La Niña phase.

Colorado State University forecasts 19 named storms, nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes. AccuWeather predicts 16-20 named storms, six to eight hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes.

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WTSP's Andrew Krietz contributed to this report.

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