Weather and Natural Disasters

NOAA forecasts a busy Atlantic hurricane season for seventh consecutive year

Key Points
  • The NOAA on Tuesday forecast a busy Atlantic hurricane season this year, calling for the seventh straight above-average season with 14 to 21 named storms and six to 10 hurricanes.
  • A growing number of destructive, rapidly intensifying hurricanes have whipped up in the Atlantic Ocean over the past several decades, which scientists have linked to higher seawater temperatures due to human-caused climate change.
  • This year, the agency predicted there will be three to six major hurricanes, which are rated Category 3 or higher, with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour.
Alonzo Lewis rescues items from his mother's home after it was destroyed by Hurricane Ida on August 30, 2021 in Laplace, Louisiana. Ida made landfall August 29 as a category 4 storm southwest of New Orleans.
Scott Olson | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The NOAA on Tuesday forecast a busy Atlantic hurricane season this year, calling for the seventh straight above-average season with 14 to 21 named storms and six to 10 hurricanes.

The Atlantic season, which extends from June 1 to Nov. 30, has experienced a growing number of destructive and rapidly intensifying hurricanes over the past several decades, which scientists have linked to higher ocean temperatures from human-caused climate change.

This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted there will be three to six major hurricanes, which are rated Category 3 or higher, with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour.

NOAA attributed the expected increased activity this season to climate factors including the ongoing La Niña, warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and weaker tropical trade winds.

"Early preparation and understanding your risk is key to being hurricane resilient and climate ready," said Gina M. Raimondo, secretary of the Commerce Department, which oversees NOAA.

Hurricane season is becoming longer and more intense as climate change triggers more frequent and destructive storms. Rising temperatures also are increasing the number of storms that move slowly and stall along the coast, a phenomenon that produces heavier rainfall and more dangerous storm surges.

The agency's scientists predicted a 65% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. An average season has 12 named storms and six hurricanes.

NOAA's forecast follows a string of damaging hurricane seasons. The 2021 season saw 21 named storms, the third highest on record, and exhausted the National Hurricane Center's hurricane name list. And in the previous year, a record-breaking 30 named storms developed.

What's more, the U.S. has seen more of the severe Category 4 and 5 hurricanes make landfall in the four years between 2017 and 2021 than the 53 years between 1963 and 2016.

VIDEO45:1945:19
Living on the front lines of climate change — victims of fire and flood