NOAA confirms US headed for up to 21 named storms in another intense hurricane year

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A photo of Tropical Storm Ida last year before it hit the US. This year’s hurricane season is expected to be intense, according to NOAA (via REUTERS)
A photo of Tropical Storm Ida last year before it hit the US. This year’s hurricane season is expected to be intense, according to NOAA (via REUTERS)

The Atlantic Ocean will likely see another “above average” hurricane season this year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

This would be the seventh year in a row with a higher-than-average hurricane season, the agency notes.

NOAA predicts there will be up to 21 named storms, where wind speeds over 39 miles per hour (mph), with six to ten of them becoming hurricanes, where wind speeds reach over 74 mph.

Of those, they expect up to six storms to reach at least Category 3 status.

The agency puts a 65 per cent chance of 2022 becoming an “above average” year, a 25 per cent chance of a “normal year” and a 10 per cent chance of a “below average” year.

Part of the reason is the ongoing La Niña phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean, which can actually increase hurricane frequency in the Atlantic. In addition, the agency blames warmer surface water temperatures on the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, which can help power up a storm’s intensity.

Last year, the Atlantic saw 21 named storms – the third most ever recorded. Those included Hurricane Ida, which strengthened to a Category 4 storm and caused over $70billion worth of damage across the US as it hit the southeast and later flooded many parts of the northeast, including New York City.

2020 was the most active hurricane season on record, with 30 named storms – so many that NOAA ran out of their list of names for the year and switched to Greek letters for the last few storms.

The assessment comes as climate scientists warn that the climate crisis will likely produce stronger and more intense storms as the planet warms.

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