2022 North Atlantic hurricane season officially starting June 1stRMS analysts have warned the insurance and reinsurance industry of the potential for another above-average year for hurricane activity.
Several forecast agencies have already predicted above-normal activity for this year’s season, which runs for six months until November 30.e.
The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted 14-21 named storms, of which 6-10 are expected to become hurricanes, and 3-6 of these are expected to become major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher).
On average, the North Atlantic experiences 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.
These forecasts reflect the state of the two main oceanic and climatic factors that historically dictate hurricane activity in the basin: El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and sea surface temperatures in the equatorial North Atlantic.
RMS notes that ENSO is expected to remain in a La Niña phase throughout the summer.
Such conditions reduce vertical wind shear in the North Atlantic, which generally increases hurricane activity by providing a more favorable atmosphere for storm development and intensification.
Additionally, sea surface temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic are expected to remain above average throughout the summer, RMS adds, which also generally increases hurricane activity in the basin.
If current forecasts hold true, 2022 would be a record seventh consecutive above-par season.
However, RMS also noted that these forecasts only provide a guide to the level of activity expected in the North Atlantic and do not provide an indication of the expected number of storms that threaten land or make landfall.
Although long-term statistics indicate that the likelihood of a hurricane making landfall in the United States increases during more active seasons, there are notable exceptions.
“2010 was a particularly active year, but only one tropical storm made landfall in the United States,” analysts observed. “Conversely, Hurricane Andrew, one of the most intense and costliest hurricanes in United States history, was one of seven storms to develop during the calm season of 1992. It only takes one storm to make the season memorable.