The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association announced Tuesday that the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season outlook is above normal. This is the seventh season with an “above average” prediction.
Many factors go into this forecast, but the two largest signs of an above normal season are La Nina and a warmer Atlantic. La Nina has been ongoing, and La Nina brings cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in the Pacific.
Meanwhile, in the Atlantic, sea surface temperatures are running 1 to 2 degrees Celsius higher than normal as we approach the start to hurricane season.
The official Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 through Nov. 30. A couple of other factors for this forecast -- weaker Atlantic trade winds and an enhanced African monsoon, which supports easterly waves that often become strong hurricanes.
NOAA has about 14 to 21 named storms in the forecast, 6 to 10 of which could become hurricanes, and about 3 to 6 of those becoming major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher).
This forecast has been issued with a 70% confidence level.
Will any hurricanes hit New England?
We have a lot of interest in the seasonal storm outlook even here in New England.
Just last year, a few named storms moved through New England. Elsa made landfall in Rhode Island in early July as a tropical depression after being downgraded from a hurricane. Then the leftovers of Fred brought tornadoes across Connecticut and Massachusetts. Henri was a hurricane, then weakened to a tropical storm and made landfall twice in Rhode Island.
In 2020, the Northeast had Tropical Storm Fay in July, and Post-tropical Storm Zeta in October that brought damage and snow. The most notable for 2020 was Tropical Storm Isaias, which brought so much damage that hundreds of thousands were without power in southern New England.
The last hurricane to make landfall in New England was Hurricane Bob in 1991.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will update the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season outlook in August.