The Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be near-normal this year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with a 30% risk of being worse than in other years.
Only one week remains before the Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1, according to a forecast NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad announced at a news conference Thursday. The summer and fall months through Nov. 30 are considered hurricane season.
“Remember, it only takes one storm to devastate a community,” Spinrad told T+L during the news conference. “Regardless of the statistics… if one of those named storms is hitting your home, your community, it’s very serious.”
NOAA is forecasting a 40% chance of being near average, a 30% chance of being above average, and a 30% chance of being below average for this year’s season. According to the agency, a total of 12 to 17 named storms with winds of at least 39 mph are expected this year. Five to nine of those storms could strengthen into hurricanes with winds of at least 74 mph. NOAA expects one to four significant hurricanes to occur.
The forecast differs from NOAA’s previous year’s outlook, which predicted an above-average hurricane season (with 14 named storms), and from the extremely active 2021 season, which NOAA said had 21 named storms in the Atlantic.
The forecast from NOAA scientists indicates a strong probability of El Nino, a climate pattern known to suppress hurricane activity. This prediction aligns with their forecast of a less active hurricane season for this year. However, NOAA also suggests that the potential impact of El Nino might be counterbalanced by favorable conditions specific to the tropical Atlantic Basin.
Next month, NOAA will launch a new Hurricane Analysis and Forecast System (HAFS) to improve forecasts for this year. Track projections have improved by 10 to 15 percent with the new model. To improve storm surge forecasts, the government also unveiled an update to the Probabilistic Storm Surge model earlier this month.
Forecasting improvements make “an incredible difference to the emergency management community and how we can make sure that we’re getting the right information to people in a timely manner so they can take the appropriate actions to protect themselves and their families.,” according to FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell.
The forecasts for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season follow a super typhoon that, according to CNN, hit Guam on Wednesday night with winds of hurricane force and heavy rains.