NORFOLK, Va. — In the typical Atlantic hurricane season, we typically experience 14 named storms on average, ranging from tropical storms to full-blown category systems.
In 2022, we hit that number exactly.
Hurricane season happens annually from June 1 through November 30, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Here's a chronological breakdown of the names that were used and their storm strength:
- Tropical Storm Alex formed on June 5.
- Tropical Storms Bonnie and Colin formed on July 1.
- Danielle strengthened from a tropical storm to a Category 1 Hurricane on September 2.
- Earl strengthened into a Category 2 Hurricane on September 8.
- Fiona strengthened into a Category 4 Hurricane on September 21.
- Tropical Storm Gaston formed on September 23.
- Tropical Storm Hermine also formed on September 23.
- Ian strengthened into a Category 4 Hurricane on September 28.
- Julia strengthened into a Category 1 Hurricane on October 8.
- Tropical Storm Karl formed on October 11.
- Tropical Storm Lisa formed on October 31.
- Martin strengthened into a Category 1 Hurricane on November 2.
- Nicole strengthened into a Category 1 Hurricane on November 9.
While some aspects of the season were typical, others were not. Let's take a look at three key points:
The summer months were unusually quiet
The kick-off of the season was relatively mild, with Tropical Storm Alex forming and then being downgraded within a little over a day. Alex was the only named system in June.
After tropical storms Colin and Bonnie formed and dissipated at the very beginning of July, activity in the Atlantic basin became abnormally quiet.
In fact, there were no named storm systems for the remainder of July and all of August.
But September certainly came back with a vengeance.
Fiona, Ian wreaked havoc
Within a week of the last part of September, Hurricanes Fiona and Ian both strengthened into Category 4 systems, devastating the territory of Puerto Rico and the state of Florida, respectively.
In fact, Hurricane Ian was the deadliest of the entire season, claiming over 100 lives and one of the costliest storms in U.S. history.
Here in Hampton Roads, we saw heavy rain and storms from Ian.
During the same time period of these two hurricanes, two other strong systems were in the Atlantic Basin as well.
Not all predictions were met
While NOAA predicted correctly that the season would fall within a certain number of named systems and the number of hurricanes in total, they were incorrect when it came to the number of major hurricane events.
As discussed above, there were two major systems, and NOAA had predicted that the number would fall somewhere between three and six.