Is this year’s hurricane season falling below average?
We are quickly approaching the peak of hurricane season, September 10, yet we’ve only seen three named storms. Alex, Bonnie, and Colin formed early on in the season, but it’s now been over 40 days since we’ve seen tropical development.
We also just came off of two years with a hyperactive Atlantic hurricane season. 2020 was the most active hurricane season in recorded history, with 30 named storms. Compared to the past few hurricane seasons, this year has been extremely slow to start.
But is this projected above-average hurricane season starting to run below average? According to average development dates, the first hurricane of a season typically forms by August 11. We have yet to see Danielle form, the fourth name on our list, which typically forms by August 15.
At this point in the 2022 hurricane season, we had already seen 11 named storms.
At this point last year, we already had eight named storms. We had already seen three hurricanes, one of which reached major hurricane strength, Hurricane Grace. We had 5 U.S. landfalls by this point last year, but this year, we only have had Tropical Storm Colin make landfall in the U.S. so far.
Forecast models suggest we could see the Atlantic finally waking up over the next few weeks. This year is still projected to be an above-average season, and remember, it only takes one storm in your region for it to be an incredibly impactful season, regardless of overall projections.
In general, climate change is causing the average sea surface temperature of the tropical Atlantic to warm. Research shows that climate change may not increase the number of named storms in a season, but for storms that do develop, they are becoming stronger. We are seeing more major hurricanes today than we were in the 1970s.