Another busy hurricane season, National Hurricane Center says

courtesy: NOAA

Get ready now for tropical storm season 2022....all the forecasts are predicting above-normal numbers of hurricanes and the National Hurricane Center (part of NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) came out yesterday with no exception:

This chart compares the NHC forecast to the one from Colorado State University (CSU) along with the Average season and last year's storm count

You can see from the above that the total count of 14-21 is, at best, average but generally well above, along with the number of hurricanes and how many will become major (Category 3 or higher). Colorado State University (Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University) also predicts plenty of storms and, by all measures, this year will be as busy as last. And the odds of all this actually happening are much better than normal at 65%:

Odds are on from NOAA that the season will see above normal numbers of storms

How can we be so sure? There are several factors that these forecasts examine, a few of the simplest being that a La Nina will continue in the Pacific Ocean (third year in a row!). This is important because its opposite, El Nino, produces warmer water producing warm rising air which creates upper level winds. Those winds cross Central America and tear up developing storms. With La Nina in place, we won’t see those helpful winds:

Cooler Pacific water does not produce helpful winds across the Caribbean that would tear up tropical storms

And the latest model predictions call for La Nina to last through the end of the year, I’ve highlighted the RED line which is the consensus and you can see it’s well below the “neutral” 0° line which I’ve circled in GREEN:

The RED line is the model consensus that La Nina will last through the end of this year (well below the neutral line which I've circled in GREEN)

So there is that, along with warmer-than-normal water in the Atlantic which fuels hurricanes:

Warm Water is the fuel for hurricanes and there is plenty of it

And south Atlantic monsoon winds are strong this year, providing more moisture to central Africa which can create thunderstorms. Those storms move off the west coast and often become hurricanes.

Monsoon winds bring more moisture to Africa which translates to more storms moving off the west coast. Those storms often become hurricanes

Is there anything working in our favor? Not much, other than Saharan Dust which is already moving off the African Coast and that usually continues until July. So perhaps we’ll get a few breaks. Of course, you may recall that in 2005 there were 28 storms and not one actually hit Texas. Last year, we had Nicholas which was a minor hurricane even though our total numbers were the same as that predicted for this year. So it really isn’t about how many tropical cyclones but about whether it hits you.

However, note that with more strong storms each year, the odds of getting one in our area continue to go up:

courtesy Climate Central

Be prepared now. Our KPRC2 Hurricane Special is airing a week from today, on June 1, with plenty of updates and advice to get you and your family ready for the busy season ahead.


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About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with three decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.