BREVARD COUNTY - The 2022 Atlantic basin hurricane season has been fairly quiet, with just three named storms, the last of which formed over a month ago, and no hurricanes as of yet.

Interests throughout the tropical Atlantic basin should be prepared for that to change in short order.

Despite the somewhat slow start to the season, the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration provided an updated to its seasonal forecast for the Atlantic on Aug. 4. In it, they still called for an above average amount of activity including:

- 14-20 named storms

- 6-10 hurricanes; and

- 3-5 major hurricanes

NOAA gave a 70 percent confidence in their forecast, adding there was a 60 percent chance of an above-average season, 30 percent chance of a near-normal one and just a 10 percent chance of a season with below average activity.

“One of the main reasons for kind of this forecast for above normal activity is we still have an ongoing La Nina (a cooling of waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean) over the Pacific,” said Derrick Weitlich, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Melbourne. “La Nina conditions over the tropical Pacific waters tend to decrease wind shear for the Atlantic basin and wind shear is just increasing winds with height or direction. Wind shear is not great for hurricane development.”

NOAA’s predictions for the season haven’t changed much from the ones released on May 24, except that it called for an upper estimate of 21 named storms and six major hurricanes with a 65 percent chance of an above-normal season and a 25 percent chance of a near-normal one.

One of the reasons why activity recently has been stifled is Saharan dust from Africa.

“It’s been kind of widespread across the Atlantic and that’s typical for this time of year in terms of that’s kind of when the Saharan air layer peaks across that area but as we get more towards the middle of August and into September, that tends to wane and that’s when we start to see our kind of climatological peak in hurricane development for the Atlantic basin,” Mr. Weitlich said, noting that the peak of the Atlantic season is “typically around….mid-August through mid-October.”

The next tropical storm in the basin will be named “Danielle.” Names are issued for each tropical basin by the World Meteorological Organization and rotate in six-year increments with the names of destructive or notable storms retired, as was the case with storms such as Andrew, Michael and Katrina among others.

The relative calm provides residents a great opportunity to prepare for the peak of the hurricane season, Mr. Weitlich added.

“….That’s the kind of things that people should be doing now….with the preparedness kits and having a plan in place. Where would you go if you did have to evacuate and what you would need to do to make sure you secure your home and property?”

For more information, visit https://www.noaa.gov/.

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