Privately-held Accuweather Inc forecasts 2022 will be the seventh straight above-average Atlantic hurricane season seeing the formation of between three and five major hurricanes with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour (178 kph), said Dan Kottlowski, senior meteorologist.
Those major hurricanes are forecast to be part of six to eight hurricanes with winds of at least 74 mph (119 kph) out of 16-20 tropical storms in 2022. said Kottlowski, who is Accuweather’s lead hurricane forecaster. Tropical storms have winds of at least 39 mph (63 kph).
Between two and four of the storms could be expected to hit the U.S.-regulated northern Gulf of Mexico, home to the nation’s offshore oil and natural gas production and half of its refining capacity, he said.
Warmer than average seas, which power storms, and the absence of an El Nino weather pattern that sends high winds across the southern United States to break up hurricanes are the primary reasons for Accuweather’s forecast, Kottlowski said.
“Unfortunately, we don’t see the water temperatures cooling any time soon,” he said.
The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and ends on Nov. 30.
As in 2021 and previous years, the season may get off to an early start with storms before the season officially begins, Kottlowski said.
“The overall pattern looks pretty similar to last year,” he said.
The first storm of 2021 formed on May 22, 2021 and the last system dissipated on Nov. 7, 2021. The 2021 season saw four major hurricanes among seven hurricanes out of 21 tropical storms.
The average for tropical cyclones in the Atlantic between 1991 and 2020 is three major hurricanes, seven hurricanes and 14 tropical storms, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
(Reporting by Erwin Seba; editing by David Evans)
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