Forecasters hold outlook for 2022 hurricane season steady -Colorado State

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FILE PHOTO: Vehicles drive down Shore Boulevard as wind and rain from Tropical Storm Andrea hit the Florida coast near Gulfport, Florida

By Erwin Seba

HOUSTON -Forecasters at Colorado State University on Thursday held steady the number of hurricanes they expect to appear in the Atlantic during 2022.

In an update to their closely watched outlook, Colorado State meteorologists said they continue to forecast 10 hurricanes, of which five are expected to be major with sustained winds above 111 miles per hour (179 km per hour), in the season that began on June 1.

Philip Klotzbach, who leads the tropical weather forecast team at Colorado State, said one factor in the forecast is this year’s “robust West African monsoon so far.”

“Stronger easterly waves and more conducive upper-level winds for hurricanes in the tropical Atlantic are typically associated with an active monsoon,” Klotzbach said.

Another factor seen aiding the formation of hurricanes is the continued absence of an El Nino weather pattern which creates high wind shear that tears hurricanes apart in the southeastern United States, according to the forecast.

Another factor shaping the forecast are above-normal sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic and Caribbean. Warm waters provide energy for hurricanes.

There is a 75% chance one major hurricane will strike the U.S. coastline, the forecast said. The East Coast has a 50% chance of a major hurricane strike while the Gulf Coast has 49% chance.

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So far, three tropical storms have formed so far in 2022. Colorado State forecasts a total of 20 storms before the current season ends on Nov. 30.

The forecast remains well-above the average for the past 30 years.

The average for tropical cyclones in the Atlantic between 1991 and 2020 is seven hurricanes, three of them major, and 14 tropical storms, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

In May, NOAA forecast that 2022 would be the seventh consecutive year with an above-normal number of tropical cyclones.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; editing by Jonathan Oatis, William Maclean)