After a relatively slow start to what was anticipated to be another particularly active 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, two of the forecast teams most followed in insurance and reinsurance circles have reduced their seasonal storm and hurricane numbers.
But before anyone gets too excited that we might be in for a less impactful Atlantic hurricane season, first it’s always vital to remember it only takes one storm barrelling into a highly populated center to cause a significant industry loss, and second there is still a long-way for the 2022 hurricane season to run.
First NOAA and the US National Hurricane Center, which in May called for a 65% chance of an above-normal hurricane season in 2022, forecasting between 14 and 21 named tropical storms, with between 6 and 10 becoming hurricanes, while 3 to 6 could intensify to become major hurricanes with Category 3 or greater wind speeds.
Updating its forecast numbers today, NOAA now gives a 60% chance of an above-average hurricane season.
At the same time, NOAA’s likelihood of near-normal hurricane activity has risen to 30% and the chances remain at 10% for a below-normal season.
NOAA now calls for between 14 and 20 named tropical storms, still 6 to 10 of which are forecast to become hurricanes and 3 to 5 major hurricanes during the 2022 Atlantic season.
So far, the season has seen three named tropical storms form, but no hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin, meaning NOAA still sees the potential for significant hurricane activity ahead.
Meanwhile, the Colorado State University’s tropical meteorology team led by Phil Klotzbach has also reduced its forecast numbers.
That most recent forecast update from the CSU tropical meteorology team called for 20 named tropical storms, 10 hurricanes and 5 major hurricanes of category 3 strength winds or greater to form in the 2022 Atlantic season.
Now, the CSU forecast has been lowered to 18 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes, while its Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) expectations sit at 150,down from a much higher 180, but reflecting the shorter period left for storms to generate ACE at this stage of the season.
The CSU forecast update includes the three names storms that have already occurred, but with 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes forecast it’s clear there could be plenty to keep insurance, reinsurance and insurance-linked securities (ILS) market interests busy through the coming months.
They explain, “We have decreased our forecast but continue to call for an above-average 2022 Atlantic hurricane season. Sea surface temperatures averaged across the tropical Atlantic are slightly warmer than normal, while subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are cooler than normal. Vertical wind shear anomalies averaged over the past 30 days over the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic are slightly weaker than normal. Current La Niña conditions are likely to persist for the rest of the Atlantic hurricane season. We continue to anticipate an above-normal probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean.”
CSU still gives a 68% chance of a major hurricane landfall for the US coast, above the 52% average, as well as a 43% chance of a major hurricane landfall for the East Coast including Florida, again above the average of 31%.
The Gulf Coast is also seen as having above average landfall probabilities, at 43%, with the average just 30%.
Suggesting the threat to the US coastline remains high through the season, as significant storms form.
When we last added new season forecasts to our page where you can track the season as it develops and access tracking maps and other storm specific information as they form, the Artemis average across them all sat at an active 19 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes, with Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 159.
We’ve updated the data with these two new reduced forecasts.
Now, the Artemis Average still sits at 19 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes, with Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) slightly reduced to 153.
However, quite a few of the forecasters do not update their seasonal figures once into the season, so maybe we should look at the average across NOAA and CSU, for now.
That comes out at 18 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes, so not a great deal of difference at this stage.
Finally, the CSU team also provides forecasts for a two week period during the season and the first of those was released today.
They say the forecast models show no signs of tropical development for the next five days, but that there are indications a tropical cyclone could develop in the Atlantic in 10 to 14 days time, while there is also potential for tropical cyclone development off the US east coast in week two of their forecast.
So the insurance, reinsurance and ILS industry could have something tropical to watch for in just over a week’s time. We’ll update you should anything form in the tropics.
Track the 2022 Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season on our dedicated page and we’ll update you as new information emerges.