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2022 Weatherbell Hurricane Forecast


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 In another month and a half we start the hurricane season, so I thought I would share some of the Weatherbell Hurricane Season Forecast. Weatherbell is one of 3-4 companies that make early hurricane forecast, and they are actually pretty accurate. There are more details in their post as to why all of this may occur, but no need to bore you. 🙂 

Take note that the areas in this forecast that will see the greatest impacts from hurricanes this season are the Gulf coast and then the southeast coast. If this were to happen, Georgia might be in for a lot of tropical rainfall.


April 7, 2022

  • Another high-impact season is anticipated for the U.S. coast.
  • Long-tracked, large storms are less likely than in-close, smaller storms that form quickly.
  • There will again be plenty of "throw-away" storms to the north of the Main Development Region which will pad the total numbers.
  • An enigma concerning the Northeast is analyzed.
  • The Western Pacific will again have lower than average activity.

First of all, there are no changes to the total numbers, but I will explain the impact numbers in more detail below.

Named Storms: 18-22
Hurricanes: 6-10
Major Hurricanes: 2-4
ACE: 140-180

Hurricane Impact Forecast

So how do we forecast this in a way so you can understand the impacts the season will have? I feel strongly the numbers game the industry plays is almost laughable. Anyone can put out a slew of numbers before the season with a large range. Where are they going? What is the nature of the season? What special characteristics will it have? I have tried to advance that.

So this year is a different attempt. We have had great success at drawing areas of prime concern, but I felt empty that I did not quantify everything better. This is certainly better than a probability for 2000 miles off the coast. As you will see below I am going to put forth a metric and from that try to see what skill can be measured.

Years ago when in arguments over hurricanes and the hysteria they produced (now it's worse than ever), I constructed a simple chart of the intensity of a tropical cyclone as it impacted an area according to a more precise, modified Saffir-Simpson Scale. In other words, if a storm is a Category 3.5 at landfall, it gets a 3.5 rating. If it's a weak Tropical Storm as it brushes by an area it might be 0.25 (even if it doesn't make landfall).

The 2020 season was the strongest impact season on record. The total cumulative Saffir-Simpson rating that year was (storm total at maximum) 52.75. Its impact score was 24 (adding up the total category values when they actually impacted an area). All of these were between Cape Hatteras and Brownsville, with over 80% on the Gulf Coast. Of course, areas farther to the north were impacted (for example Faye and Isaias in the Northeast).

A complication to this method is what happens when a storm stays just offshore, in which case the strongest category wind seen would be used. Helene in 1958 was a Category 4 but only Category 3 winds reached the coast since it stayed 10 miles offshore. It gets a 3. In the end, what's the difference between a Category 3 landfall and a Category 4 that causes Category 3 impacts? So this is a very basic attempt to better quantify impacts rather than landfalls.

So to reiterate, to score in a region the storm does not have to make landfall in that region, it only has to cause impacts. For example, the queen of all storms, Donna, scored a 4 on the Gulf Coast, a 3 in the Southeast, and a 2 in the Northeast. Outrageous!

So the way we score it is to total up the strongest category for a storm in a given impact area. Given the analog map above, the Gulf Coast looks to be most under the gun yet again. So here is the forecast:



So the season is expected to see a total of 12 impact categories for the U.S. That's under the record year but still above average. Here it is in graphic form:



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