For a 7th year, a busy hurricane season is expected

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expects an “above normal” Atlantic hurricane season this year, the agency said Tuesd...


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expects an “above normal” Atlantic hurricane season this year, the agency said Tuesday. If this materializes, it would make 2022 the seventh straight year with an above-average season.

Rick Spinrad, the NOAA administrator, told a press conference on Tuesday that scientists had calculated a 65% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a season near normal and a 10% chance of a below normal season. season.

The season — which officially runs from June 1 to November 30, though storms may develop outside of that time frame — will likely feature 14 to 21 named storms, a category that includes all tropical cyclones with upper winds of at least 39 miles per hour. Of those, six to 10 are expected to reach hurricane strength, which means sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour. And of that subset, three to six are expected to achieve Category 3 or better, which means sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour.

NOAA seasonal forecast relates to overall hurricane activity in the Atlantic and does not predict the number of storms that will pass near or over land.

But “it only takes one storm to damage your home, your neighborhood and your community,” Spinrad said. “Preparation is the key to resilience, and now is the time to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season.”

Several elements informed the forecast, among which La Niña, a vast climatic regime which has been in place intermittently since 2020 and affects many aspects of the weather, including the drought in the western United States. La Niña is expected to persist throughout the hurricane season, maintaining conditions conducive to hurricane formation.

Another factor is a strong West African monsoon, which favors the development of areas of low atmospheric pressure called East African waves, from which intense storms can form. At the same time, tropical Atlantic trade winds are weaker than average, making it easier for a developing storm to merge without being torn apart by wind shear. NOAA also expects unusually warm sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean this summer, and storms gain strength as they pass over warm water.

The classification system used by NOAA – which classifies events of increasing intensity as tropical depressions, tropical storms and category 1 to 5 hurricanes – is based only on maximum sustained wind speeds and does not reflect the volume or the rainfall intensity.

But rainfall and flooding can often cause more damage than wind, and the destruction can extend far beyond the southern coastal regions that are most often hit by hurricanes. In early September, the remnants of Hurricane Ida devastated the New York metropolitan area with more than three inches of rain in an hour, even though its winds had dropped to well below hurricane force at that time.

Broadly speaking, many of the patterns that have led to above-average hurricane seasons and other extreme weather events are linked to climate change.

Climate change produces more powerful storms and dumps more water due to heavier rains and a tendency to stroll and stroll; rising seas and slower storms can cause higher and more destructive storm surges. But humans also play a role in adding to the cost of storm damage, by continue to build in vulnerable coastal areas.

“We are seeing such a dramatic change in the type of weather events that we face due to climate change,” Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Tuesday, stressing the need for preparedness. individual. .

As the season progresses, forecasters will be watching the Loop Current, a warm area of ​​the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Its positioning varies from year to year, and smaller currents called eddies can separate from the main current, bringing warmer-than-average waters farther north into the gulf.

It’s not a factor in seasonal forecasts because the effects depend on the geography of individual storms, said Matthew Rosencrans, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center’s senior hurricane forecaster. If the path of a storm does not outweigh the current, it is irrelevant. But storms that cross the loop current or a vortex can intensify quickly and dangerously, as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita did in 2005 – and this year’s current is very similar to that of 2005.

“The Loop Current seems to be active this year; we are seeing this push of warm water into the gulf,” Mr. Rosencrans said. “If a storm forms and then moves over where the loop current is, it can be an explosive source of energy.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: For a 7th year, a busy hurricane season is expected
For a 7th year, a busy hurricane season is expected
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