TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The 2022 hurricane season is less than two months away, and forecasters are expecting another year of above-average activity.
Colorado State University, which has issued Atlantic hurricane season forecasts for nearly four decades now, released this year’s extended-range forecast for hurricane activity and landfall on Thursday. CSU and Meteorologist Dr. Philip Klotzbach are anticipating above-normal activity and above-average probability for major storms to make landfall in the United States.
CSU’s forecast predicts 19 named storms for 2022 with nine hurricanes, including four major hurricanes. Between 1991 and 2020, the average number of storms has been 14.4 with an average of 7.2 hurricanes and 3.2 major hurricanes.
A major hurricane is any storm that reaches sustained wind speeds of 111 mph or higher. Major hurricanes can reach Category 3 strength with 111-129 mph winds, Category 4 with 130 to 156 mph or Category 5 with 157 mph or higher.
The forecast also gives a 71% probability of at least one major hurricane making landfall somewhere along the U.S. coastline. The probability for landfall along the east coast, including the Florida Peninsula, is 47% while the probability for landfall along the Gulf Coast, from the Florida Panhandle westward, is 46%, the forecast predicts.
“As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them,” Klotzbach wrote in the extended-range forecast. “They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”
According to Klotzbach, two of the reasons CSU is predicting above-average activity is the lack of El Niño and warmer-than-normal water temperatures in the subtropical Atlantic Ocean.
“It seems unlikely that El Niño conditions will occur during this year’s hurricane season,” the CSU forecast explained. “El Niño typically reduces Atlantic hurricane activity through increases in vertical wind shear.”
And while the CSU experts say sea surface temperatures are currently near average in the eastern and central tropical Atlantic, they added that the temperatures in the Caribbean and most of the subtropical Atlantic are above average.
The Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. However, storms can – and have – formed before the official start of the hurricane season.
Colorado State University issues updated hurricane season forecasts in the beginning of June, July and August.