Well above-average 2022 Atlantic hurricane season forecast by CSU

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Colorado State University’s tropical meteorology team led by Phil Klotzbach has increased its forecast for activity in the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, saying they now anticipate a “well above-average” hurricane season ahead also raising its landfall probability forecasts.

hurricane-ida-louisiana-catastrophe-bonds“We have increased our forecast and now call for a well above-average Atlantic basin hurricane season in 2022,” the forecast team warned last week.

Explaining that, “We anticipate that either cool neutral ENSO or weak La Niña conditions will predominate over the next several months. Sea surface temperatures averaged across portions of the tropical Atlantic are above normal, while most of the subtropical and mid-latitude eastern North Atlantic is much warmer than normal.”

The Colorado State University tropical forecasting team had previously been calling for 19 named storms, 9 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes to form during the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season.

Now, that has been increased, to 20 named tropical storms, 10 hurricanes and 5 major hurricanes of category 3 strength winds or greater.

At the same time, the teams forecast for accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) has been raised from 160 to 180 for the season, an indicator of more power or duration in storms that form.

The CSU update takes our Artemis average to an active 19 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes, with Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 157, the ACE being the only factor to have increased.

For insurance, reinsurance, catastrophe bond and insurance-linked securities (ILS) interests, another perhaps more concerning factor in the updated hurricane season forecast is that landfall probabilities are seen as high.

“We anticipate an above-normal probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean,” the CSU team said.

The latest landfall probabilities are:

CSU gives a 76% chance of a major hurricane striking the US coastline during the 2022 season (up from 71% at the April forecast), much higher than the last century average of 52%.

For the US east coast and Florida peninsula the probability of major hurricane landfall is given as 51% (up from 47%), again much higher than the 31% average.

For the Gulf Coast, the probability of major hurricane landfall is given as 50% for this year (up on 46%), again higher than the 30% average.

Finally, the probability a major hurricane tracks into the Caribbean is given as 65% (up on 60%), again higher than the 42% average.

These are high landfall probabilities, some of the highest we’ve seen in more than 25 years of tracking the Atlantic hurricane season.

Landfalling storms are what the insurance, reinsurance and ILS market is really concerned about, of course, so these don’t bode particularly well for the season ahead.

But, as ever, we have to caution that precisely where a hurricane makes landfall has a significant bearing on the potential for reinsurance and ILS market losses, so storms may need closely watching through what looks set to be another very active few months of tropical activity ahead.

Track the 2022 Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season on our dedicated page and we’ll update you as new information emerges.

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