2022 Summer & Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

May 26, 2022 // Article by: Kevin Winters

Last year, the United States saw its 11th consecutive warmer than normal summer. It also was the 6th consecutive active than normal Atlantic Hurricane season. We seem to be stuck in a regime of summers full of heat with a decent amount of tropical activity across the Atlantic and our outlook for this year favors more of the same.

Summer Temperature Forecast

WeatherWorks forecast for temperature anomalies across the Lower 48 (June through August)

The summer of 2022 is expected to bring above normal temperatures across much of the United States. Similar to last year, the hottest weather is looks to occur in the West and extend into the Central Plains. The Midwest and Northeastern United States are not to be left out, as some early season heat is likely to occur before a mid-summer cool down occurs, relatively speaking. While increased humidity and warm overnight temperatures throughout the summer are expected to play a large role in the above normal temperatures in many of our forecast regions, the latter part of the summer will see an increased risk of heatwaves. Like last year, the Southeast is the one part of the country (other than the extreme Northwest) that should be left out of the significant heat this summer with near normal temperatures overall. 

Summer Precipitation Forecast

WeatherWorks Forecast for precipitation anomalies across the Lower 48 (June through August)

United States Drought Conditions

Current Drought Monitor (Courtesy of NOAA/CPC/UNL)

In terms of rainfall, the driest weather this summer is expected to occur in the Central Plains and much of the West, and it is easy to see why looking at the current drought conditions map shown above. The ground so far this year has been quite dry in these areas, most notably in Texas and Oklahoma. Unfortunately, we see little in the way of relief in the drought stricken areas this summer and the drought will likely only get worse before it gets better. The dry soil also supports intense heat throughout the summer in these areas.

The wettest weather this summer looks to be in the eastern part of the country, especially the Mid-Atlantic, which may seem like a broken record at this point, comparing that to the past couple of summers. The current drought conditions map above shows a few areas in the East currently having some dry soil, which can enhance the forecasted early season heat. However, the overall wet summer should ease the minds of many agricultural workers when it comes to drought concerns. We feel that increased tropical moisture later this summer will play a significant role in keeping the overall pattern active in this part of the country.

Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast

WeatherWorks forecast for the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Speaking of tropical moisture, we are projecting yet another fairly active tropical season in the Atlantic. While it may not be quite as active as last year, when the dust settles at the end of November, we are expecting a somewhat quick start to the season that will only get more active in August/September. With that said, a majority of the stronger storms are more likely to occur during these months, with a few developing well into October and even November. Before then, most of the storms should remain on the weaker side. Even so, these weaker storms can bring significant impacts as we saw with Elsa, Fred, and Henri last year.

Sea Surface Temperatures Anomalies Support Active Season

Current Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies (Courtesy of Tropical Tidbits)

The map above shows how warm or cool the sea surface temperatures are compared to normal across the globe and you can see warmer than normal waters are in place across much of the Atlantic ocean, which supports our idea of an above normal season and a quicker start at that. This year we are favoring the storm tracks to occur along the East Coast, as the pattern looks to favor an area of high pressure sitting over the North Atlantic. This will keep many storms from just escaping into the open waters and increase the probability of East Coast strikes. While we favor the Southeast early on for direct impacts, our analogs for this year (years with similar conditions as this year) point to the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast having a greater likelihood for direct impacts in September/October. The Gulf of Mexico is not out of the woods this year, but we don’t see a particularly strong signal for tropical activity in this region at this time.

Another factor we are keeping an eye on is the state of La Nina, as the current sea surface temperature map shown above clearly shows that we still have a healthy La Nina going on. This is shown by the area of blue that you see circled.

El Nino/La Nina Forecast (Courtesy of ECMWF)

The forecast shown above says that La Nina will continue into the summer and perhaps weaken later on. This is significant, because La Nina supports higher than normal tropical activity in the Atlantic due to less wind shear. Also, La Nina tends to lead to hotter and drier than normal summers, which supports our summer outlook ideas.

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