NOAA’s update to the prior forecast – which covers the entire six-month hurricane season ahead – project that there will be 14-20 named storms with winds of 39 mph/63 kmh or greater. However, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment report projects that the global proportion of tropical cyclones that reach very intense levels of category 4 or 5, along with their peak winds and rainfall rates, are expected to gradually increase due to global warming caused by rising CO2 emissions.
The conditions do still point towards an “above-normal” 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, according to NOAA’s annual mid-season update issued by the Climate Prediction Center, a division of the United States’ National Weather Service.
Hurricane names pending
Every year, there are on average 84 named tropical cyclones all over the world.
Thus far, the season has seen three named storms, but no hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin. On average, hurricane season produces 14 named storms, seven of which become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
In addition to a continued La Niña, weaker tropical Atlantic winds, an active west African Monsoon and likely above-normal Atlantic sea-surface temperatures, set the stage for higher-than-average hurricane activity.
In view of the growing hazards, WMO is working to ensure there is universal access to early warnings and is seeking to strengthen impact-based forecasting.
Eye of the storm
Of these, six-10, could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph/119 kmh or greater. Of these, three to five could become major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph/179 kmh or greater. NOAA has projected these ranges with a 70 per cent level of confidence.
The hurricane seasons in 2020 and 2021 were exceptionally active and both years exhausted the prepared lists of storm names, from the WMO’s rotating list. The WMO maintains lists of names, in order to aid clear communication over hazards ahead, and help save lives.
43 deaths per day
However, based on the data, death tolls have fallen dramatically. This development is thanks to improvements in forecasting, warning and disaster risk reduction, coordinated by WMO’s Tropical Cyclone Programme.
In the North Atlantic, and northeastern Pacific basins, WMO’s Regional Specialized Meteorological Center Miami (the US National Hurricane Center) is responsible for tropical cyclone forecasting, including marine-related hazards.
Over the past 50 years, every single day, they have caused on average 43 deaths and million in damages, according to WMO statistics from 1970-2019.