Saturday, December 9, 2023

NOAA: Prepare for Busy Hurricane Season

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting above-average hurricane activity this year, which would make it the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season. They also predict several major hurricanes will occur.

NOAA’s outlook predicts a 65% chance of an above-normal hurricane season. The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 to November 30 every year.

For the 2022 hurricane season, NOAA is forecasting a likely range of 14 to 21 named tropical systems, which consists of 39 mph winds or higher. Part of that total is predicted to include 6 to 10 hurricanes, consisting of winds 74 mph or higher. NOAA also estimates 3 to 6 major hurricanes will occur, which is defined as a category 3, 4 or 5 with winds of 111 mph or higher. They give their prediction 70% confidence.

Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo said. “Throughout the hurricane season, NOAA experts will work around-the-clock to provide early and accurate forecasts and warnings that communities in the path of storms can depend on to stay informed.” 

The increased activity anticipated this hurricane season is attributed to several climate factors, including the ongoing La Nina weather pattern that is likely to persist throughout the hurricane season. They also attribute it to warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon. An enhanced west African monsoon supports stronger African Easterly Waves, which seed many of the strongest and longest lived hurricanes during most seasons.

“As we reflect on another potentially busy hurricane season, past storms — such as Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the New York metro area ten years ago — remind us that the impact of one storm can be felt for years,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “Since Sandy, NOAA’s forecasting accuracy has continued to improve, allowing us to better predict the impacts of major hurricanes to lives and livelihoods.”

NOAA’s outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will update the 2022 Atlantic seasonal outlook in early August, just prior to the historical peak of the season. 

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