The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts the 2022 hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean will produce above-average activity, with a likely range of more than 20 named storms to occur. This hurricane season — which starts June 1 and runs through Nov. 30 — could be the seventh consecutively above-average hurricane season, according to the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.
"As we reflect on another potentially busy hurricane season, past storms — such as Superstorm Sandy, which — remind us that the impact of one storm can be felt for years," NOAA administrator Dr. Rick Spinrad said in a statement Tuesday.
According to the latest outlook, researchers at 70% confidence predict a range this season of 14 to 21 named storms with winds of at least 39 mph or higher. Six to 10 of those storms could become hurricanes, with winds of 74 mph or higher. Three to six major hurricanes could touch down with winds of 111 mph or higher.
Atlantic #HurricaneSeason Outlook 2022: 70% likelihood of 14-21 named storms of which 6-10 could become hurricanes, including 3-6 major hurricanes: https://t.co/a9MLVIUI3I #HurricaneOutlook pic.twitter.com/UpH2uxmjpx
— NOAA (@NOAA) May 24, 2022
The increased activity is the result of factors including the climate pattern La Niña that's likely to occur throughout the hurricane season, as well as warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures expected in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, the NOAA said.
Weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds and an enhanced west African monsoon is also predicted to contribute towards the active hurricane season. The monsoon supports African Easterly Waves that have produced some of the strongest and longest hurricanes during many seasons, according to the NOAA.
Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Deanne Criswell warns that "anyone can be in the direct path of a hurricane and in danger from the remnants of a storm system."
"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," she said.
— NOAA (@NOAA) May 24, 2022
In 2021, natural disasters cost the United States approximately $148 billion dollars, with tropical cyclones and severe storms racking in more than $100 billion, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. The agency counted approximately 218 deaths associated with severe storms and and tropical cyclones.
The United States Geological Survey warns that the changing climate creates the possibility for more powerful storms to develop in the future.
"More heat in the atmosphere and warmer ocean surface temperatures can lead to increased wind speeds in tropical storms," the USGS said. "Rising sea levels expose higher locations not usually subjected to the power of the sea and to the erosive forces of waves and currents."