Breaking Down the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season
Bottom Line: Pick your meteorological prognosticator of choice and you’ll have had essentially an identical forecast. Well above average activity with named storms, overall hurricane formation and majors. In the end, despite Florida’s unfortunate luck of being in the crosshairs of two hurricanes, it turned out to be exceedingly average. It was also the calmest in years. For the purpose of evaluating the preseason forecast against what happened, we’ll use the National Hurricane Center’s forecast. According to the NHC heading into this season we were expected to see:
- 14-21 named storms (actual 14)
- 6-10 hurricanes (actual 8)
- 3-6 major hurricanes (actual 2)
We experienced a hurricane season featuring a number of named storms which equaled the lowest end of their projected range and that was 22% lower than the midpoint of their projected range. We had a total number of hurricanes that was right in line with the midpoint of their guidance and a total number of major hurricanes which fell below the lowest end of their guidance (and was 56% lower than the midpoint their expectations). By any objective evaluation it was a meaningfully less active season than was projected. And it was significantly less active than what we’ve experienced in recent years.
The 2021 hurricane season brought us 21 named storms with the 2020 season producing a record setting 30. What happened this season paled in comparison to those seasons. In fact, not only was the season lower in activity than expectations, but it was also the least active in seven years when there were just 12 named storms in the 2015 hurricane season.
Over the past thirty years the average hurricane season has produced...
- 14 named storms
- 7 hurricanes
- 3 majors
In the end this season was about as average as could possibly be with exactly an average number of named storms, one more hurricane than usual, however with one fewer major hurricane than usual. As I noted during hurricane season, there’s a connection between increased Saharan dust activity and fewer than expected named storms. That’s something worth watching in future years and cycles as well.