The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season is in the history books, but the near-average season is different from what forecasters had in mind during the run-up to what was expected to be a rather busy cycle.
Outlooks from Colorado State University, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and others called for a busier-than-average year, continuing a stretch of hyperactivity unseen in modern times.
The season ended with 14 named storms, eight hurricanes and only two major cyclones that reached least Category 3 status.
Phil Klotzbach, senior research scientist at CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences, was the lead author of the university’s hurricane outlook and said the skill errors were caused by one month- August.
"When looking at monthly ACE in 2022 compared with normal, the biggest surprise of the season was the lack of any named storm activity during August. June had near average activity, July was quiet, August had no activity, September was above the long-term average, and October was relatively quiet," Klotzbach stated in a recent summary discussion.
The Atlantic’s lack of storm activity between July 3 and August 31 was the first time since World War II that there was nothing to track in the basin.
"It was a very strange hurricane season, and there were a lot of lessons out of hurricane season 2022, including what happens in June and July has nothing to do with what’s going to happen in September and October," said FOX Weather hurricane specialist Bryan Norcross.
So what happened in August? Several impeding factors that tropical weather experts said will take additional time to analyze.
Typically, during the summer month, four named storms form, and two strengthen into hurricanes, which would have significantly increased 2022’s tally if formation occurred.
These hindering effects relaxed in September, making for a busy period after Labor Day, with half a dozen named storms during the month.
Many residents in the Sunshine State learned it doesn’t matter when the systems form, it only takes one to cause problems.
Conditions were ripe in the Gulf of Mexico for Hurricane Ian to reach Category 4 intensity before making landfall in Southwest Florida.
"The bottom line is, if the National Hurricane Center warns you, that means there is danger, and that means you’re putting yourself and your family at risk if you don’t take action. That’s the big lesson of hurricane season 2022," said Norcross.
The 2023 tropical cyclone season in the Atlantic basin will kick off on June 1, with the first outlook expected to be released in April.