There have only been three tropical storms and no hurricanes so far in the third month of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which has a little more than a week left. Although it seems unlikely that a hurricane will form in the near future, AccuWeather forecasters are keeping an eye on some mild activity that could grow into something stronger over the course of the next week.
While one small wave of convection is now being monitored far out in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, conditions aren’t expected to become any better over the next five days, and tropical development isn’t expected, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Sadvary. To explain why no tropical systems have formed during the past seven and a half weeks, Sadvary said that “dry, dusty air from the Sahara Desert, combined with adverse wind shear, has kept the bulk of the Atlantic hurricane season quiet thus far.”
The National Hurricane Center has assigned the wave Invest 90L to AccuWeather’s tropical forecasters. As seen on Monday’s satellite images, Invest 90L was located in a remote area of the basin and was surrounded by dusty air masses.
It’s still possible that August will experience one “buzzer beater” system in its last days since a few other tropical waves that are being watched at the end of the month could cause an increase in activity, according to Sadvary.
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While there are several reasons why there aren’t any storms, a lack of heat in the ocean isn’t one of them. Warm sea waters are the most crucial component for cyclone development.
Water temperatures in the western Caribbean Sea, southern Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico are generally running 1 to 2 degrees F over average “explained Sadvary. The size of these anomalies increases as one travels further north along the East Coast; some North Atlantic seas are 4-5 degrees F above average.
The peak of tropical activity often occurs in early September during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. The Bermuda high, which normally controls wind patterns over the Atlantic, should be in a more favorable position for activity, and ocean water temperatures should be approaching their maximum, according to Sadvary. This should increase the likelihood of tropical systems forming next month.
Three named storms have formed in the Atlantic so far this year: Tropical Storm Alex in early June, Tropical Storms Bonnie and Colin in the first week of July, but nothing for August has materialized yet. Since there hasn’t been much tropical activity this month, August could end up being just the third August without a tropical storm across the Atlantic basin since 1961.
Hurricane season in 1961 was extremely active, just not in August.
Eight of the 12 Atlantic storms were hurricanes, and two of those, Hurricane Esther in September and Hurricane Hattie in late October, were strong enough to be classified as Category 5. Approximately $6 million in property damage — or $59 million in 2022 dollars — resulted with Esther making landfall in New England.
Contrarily, 1997 wasn’t quite as eventful. There were a total of eight storms, three of which were hurricanes, however only one of those was a major hurricane, meaning it strengthened to at least Category 3: Hurricane Erika, a Category 3 storm, struck in September.
The only hurricane to reach hurricane strength and make landfall was Hurricane Danny in July, a Category 1 storm. Seven people were killed as a result of those two hurricanes, which together cost $100 million in damages (or $184 million when adjusted for inflation).
When compared to the previous two Atlantic hurricane seasons, which were two of the busiest in recorded history, this one seems even more underwhelming. With 31 tropical systems, 2020 will surpass last year’s third-place finish of 21 tropical systems overall.
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