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Return of La Niña: NOAA predicts above-average 2022 Atlantic hurricane season

NOAA is forecasting a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms, of which six to 10 could become hurricanes, including three to six major hurricanes.

MIAMI — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting another busy Atlantic hurricane season for 2022.

NOAA is predicting 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. It'd be the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season in the Atlantic basin.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30; however, leaders urge preparation now.

"Take time to look at your family situation and make a plan, because a prepared family is a safe family,” said NOAA Lead Hurricane Season Outlook Forecaster Dr. Matthew Rosencrans. 

SEE ALSO: The 13News Now Hurricane Guide

NOAA is forecasting a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which six 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).

Credit: WFMY

There already have been hurricane outlooks published by other organizations, including AccuWeather and Colorado State University. Both are predicting above-average seasons, and both are highlighting two major factors indicating a more-active period, including warm ocean water and an ongoing La Niña phase.

When a La Niña phase is around for hurricane season, we can expect lighter upper-level winds, which means less wind shear. When there is less wind shear, tropical storms and hurricanes can develop and strengthen.

NOAA is also citing the La Niña as a strong factor in this year's hurricane season.

Another factor that went into their outlook is above-normal sea surface temperatures that are persistent in the Atlantic, Dr. Rosencrans said. And he added that during active years — like forecasted in 2022 — you're likely to end up with about twice as many hurricane landfalls than inactive years.

"We just have to be more prepared," said Austin Jackson, a fairly new Norfolk resident. He said he’s picking up tips from people who are used to the coastal-like weather.

"Always listen to the advisors. I have a handheld radio and stuff, scanners, so we always have that going whenever there's a hurricane or some severe weather coming in. And also the hurricane evacuation routes," Jackson added. 

In a normal year, the Atlantic hurricane basin produces 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher).

Colorado State University forecasts 19 named storms, nine hurricanes, and four major hurricanes. AccuWeather predicts 16-20 named storms, six to eight hurricanes, and three to five major hurricanes.

Credit: WFMY

WTSP contributed to this report.

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