NOAA's Climate Prediction Center and researchers at Colorado State University issued mid-season updates to their 2022 Atlantic hurricane forecasts Thursday and continued to warn of an above-average season, despite the relative recent quiet in the tropics.
There were three named storms to start the season, but nothing has formed since the short-lived Colin off the coast of South Carolina in early July.
“We’re just getting into the peak months of August through October for hurricane development, and we anticipate that more storms are on the way,” said NOAA Administrator Dr. Rick Spinrad.
The NOAA forecast slightly lowered the odds of an above-average season from 65% to 60% and bumped up the chance of a normal season from 25% to 30%. The chances for a below-average season remained at 10%.
The Climate Prediction Center now calls for 14 to 20 named storms, with six to ten becoming hurricanes. Of those, three to five could become major hurricanes of category 3 or higher strength.
CSU researchers have lowered their total number of named storms from 20 to 18 named storms, the number of hurricanes from 10 to 8, and major hurricanes from 5 to 4.
Both NOAA and CSU's count of named storms include those already formed this season: Alex, Bonnie and Colin.
A number of factors remain in play that could lead to an active season, including continued La Niña conditions.
"Additionally, this summer we are observing weaker Atlantic tropical trade winds, an active west African monsoon, and periodically above-normal Atlantic sea surface temperatures in the main development region of the tropical Atlantic," said NOAA forecaster Matthew Rosencrans.
"All of those are signals for an above-average hurricane season and are reflective of the ongoing high activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that has favored more active hurricane seasons since 1995," Rosencrans added.
The season runs through the end of November.
“Communities and families should prepare now for the remainder of what is still expected to be an active hurricane season,” said Ken Graham, director of the National Weather Service. “Ensure that you are ready to take action if a hurricane threatens your area by developing an evacuation plan and gathering hurricane supplies now, before a storm is bearing down on your community.”