2022’s Atlantic hurricane season comes to a quiet conclusion.3 min read
The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season has come to a quiet conclusion. It has easily been one of the most unusual “average” seasons in recent memory.
WASHINGTON — Wednesday is the last day of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, and it has easily been one of the most unusual “average” seasons in recent memory.
Meteorologists say the 2022 season was unusual because there were more named storms in November than in July and August combined.
Breakdown of 2022 Atlantic hurricane season:
This year’s season ended with 14 tropical storms, with sustained winds of 39-73 mph, of which eight intensified into hurricanes, with sustained winds of 74 – 110 mph. Two of the eight were classified as major hurricanes, with sustained winds of over 111 mph.
Meteorologists say a “major” hurricane is defined as a Category 3 or greater on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean Basin, that includes the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, spans the six-month period of June 1 – November 30. An “average” season has 14 tropical storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes, according to NOAA, based on data from 1991-2020.
A total of four named storms made landfall in the United States this season. Tropical Storm Colin was a weak storm with sustained winds of 40 mph when it made landfall in South Carolina on July 1, with only minimal impacts.
Hurricane Fiona made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane in Puerto Rico on September 18. Fiona would eventually intensify into a Category 4 hurricane and had the lowest air pressure of any tropical system this season at 930 millibars (the lower the air pressure, the stronger the storm is). Fortunately, Fiona didn’t make landfall at its peak intensity.
Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwest Florida on September 28 as a powerful Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 150 mph. It caused widespread damage across the state of Florida and made another landfall as a minimal hurricane in South Carolina on September 30. Over 100 fatalities in the United States have been attributed to Hurricane Ian. According to NOAA, Ian was the 15th billion dollar weather disaster of 2022 for the U.S., with an estimated $50 billion or more in damages.
Billion Dollar Weather Disasters of 2022 in the U.S.
Hurricane Nicole had sustained winds of 75 mph when it made landfall on Florida’s east coast as a Category 1 storm on November 10. Nicole was the fourth strongest tropical system to make landfall in the United States during the month of November. It was also the strongest system to make landfall on Florida’s east coast in November since 1935. Early damage estimates for Nicole in the United States are between $1 billion and $2 billion, according to a report from the Yale Center of Environmental Communication.
It will take weeks, if not months, to calculate the final damage and death tolls from the storms that made landfall this hurricane season. However, some key trends can be analyzed now. With 14 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes, 2022 finished at the low end of NOAA’s original forecast from late May that called for between 14 and 21 tropical storms, 6 – 10 hurricanes, and 3 – 6 major hurricanes. This season also saw the fewest named Atlantic storms since 2015.
The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season will also finish with an ACE score of 95.1. “ACE” stands for Accumulated Cyclone Energy. It is a more accurate measure of how active a hurricane season is taking into account not just the overall number of named storms, but storm intensity and duration as well. This season’s ACE score was also the lowest since 2015, according to Colorado State University.
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