Forecasters predict 3 to 6 major hurricanes in the Atlantic this season

The Atlantic hurricane season is poised to produce another round of above-normal storms for the seventh consecutive year, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The two meteorologists released their forecasts on Tuesday, estimating that 14 to 21 named storms and three to six major hurricanes will develop during the season from June 1 to November 30. A major hurricane carries winds of at least 178 km/h and can cause devastating damage.

“On average, [Canada gets] about four or five storms each year of those storms that form in the Atlantic and end up in our response area. That’s 30 to 40%,” Bob Robichaud, meteorologist in charge of preparedness for warnings at the Canadian Hurricane Center, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

“So if we apply that to the prediction for this year, we should have a season quite similar to what we’ve had for the past two years here in Canada.”

Climate change is warming ocean temperatures, leading to more destructive and damaging storms, forecasters say. NOAA’s call for an above-average storm season follows another from Colorado State University, which last month predicted 19 named storms, nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes.

The Canadian Hurricane Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are calling for another above-normal hurricane season in 2022. (NOAA)

An average season generates 14 named storms and seven hurricanes, numbers that increased last year after a recalculation. NOAA cited improving satellite monitoring and climate change increasing the numbers for a normal year.

The 21 Atlantic storms named last year cost an estimated US$80.6 billion in insured damage along with Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 hurricane when it hit Louisiana that brought winds and floods to New York. This resulted in losses of approximately US$36 billion.

NOAA forecasts call for six to 10 hurricanes in total. A tropical storm brings sustained winds of at least 63 km/h while hurricanes have winds of at least 119 km/h.

Forecasters say unseasonably high temperatures, warmer-than-average seas that provide energy for tropical cyclones and the lack of an El Nino climate model are indicators of an active storm season.