South Alabamian


Unwanted news: Another busy season predicted

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Hurricane season is here again and the forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) isn’t what most coastal area residents want to hear – Another above-average season — which would make it the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season.

Neither citizens nor local governments welcome the news. Many counties and municipalities still haven’t received full FEMA reimbursements for debris cleanup from Hurricane Zeta two years ago.

NOAA’s outlook for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to Nov. 30, predicts a 65% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season.

NOAA predicts a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including three to six major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence.



The increased activity anticipated this hurricane season is attributed to several climate factors, including the ongoing La Niña that is likely to persist throughout the hurricane season, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds and an enhanced west African monsoon.

An enhanced west African monsoon supports stronger African Easterly Waves, which seed many of the strongest and longest-lived hurricanes during most seasons. The way in which climate change impacts the strength and frequency of tropical cyclones is a continuous area of study for NOAA scientists.

NOAA’s outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast.

The seasonal outlook will be updated in early August, just prior to the historical peak of the season.

The South Alabamian and other Clarke County newspapers will publish a special hurricane issue later this month with tips to help prepare for a storm.

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